MATT STAIRS IS GOING on the road.
On Saturday, the free-agent rightfielder, who played for the Phillies the past two seasons, had a street named after him in his hometown of Fredericton in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
And not just any street.
The road that runs alongside Royal Field Park - the place Stairs first played professionally - has been renamed Matt Stairs Way.
"Royals Field . . . that's one of the most special ones I've ever been in," Stairs told the Canadian Broadcasting Centre News. "One, it's in my hometown. Two, it's where I was scouted, where I was signed. It's a home inside of a home city. And now, just to have a street named around it is a great honor."
The 41-year-old Stairs currently lives in Bangor, Maine, but said he plans to move back to Fredericton when he retires.
When that will be, he's not sure. Stairs said he might play next year if he gets a good offer.
Stairs hit 259 home runs over 17 seasons.
Two stand out more than the others - at least for Phillies fan.
He launched the first postseason home run of his career in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That two-run shot, off Jonathan Broxton, helped the Phillies to a 7-5 win.
And on April 12 of this year, his game-winning dinger against Colorado was the last home run called by legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas, who died the following day.
All of Stairs' home runs hold significance for Ryan Astle, who was one of hundreds who turned out for the street-naming event.
Astle, who traveled more than 60 miles, showed up with a bunch of stuff for Stairs to sign.
"Big fan of Matt's career," he said. "It's always been something for my dad - point of conversation. I know we've had at least 259 conversations because he's got 259 home runs and I wanted to get some stuff signed.
"It makes good Christmas gifts."
- Tom Mahon
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