Former Athletics Grant Balfour and Matt Stairs will each be inducted into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, respectively.
Balfour induction to Australian hall accelerated due to ailing father
Baseball Australia, that nation's governing body for baseball, will induct reliever Grant Balfour into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame ahead of its ordinary schedule to ensure his father David can attend the ceremony. In an article by Jeff Kirshman of MLB.com on August 1, 2013, David Balfour was said to have "perhaps just 12 months to live" after cancer returned following remission.
In an announcement by Trish Quayle of Baseball Australia, "Ten years service in Major League Baseball makes Grant Balfour's Hall of Fame induction inevitable. Exceptional family circumstances has led to the heartfelt decision to bring that honour forward for his father to see."
With the A's from 2011-13, Balfour made 202 appearances and earned 64 saves over 199⅓ innings. The 2013 American League All-Star holds Oakland's consecutive converted saves record at 44.
Matt Stairs to enter the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
Joining Carlos Delgado and Corey Kosie in the 2015 class, former Athletics outfielder Matt Stairs will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on June 13 in St. Marys, Ontario, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. The New Brunswick, Canada native is presently a television analyst for CSN Philadelphia, covering the Phillies.
Stairs signed as a 28-year-old free agent with the Athletics in 1996 after only 58 games between the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox prior to then. With Oakland from 1996-2000 Stairs hit 122 home runs and 109 doubles, amassing a .268/.363/.509 line, for an OPS+ of 125. Stairs is 16th on the All-time A's home run list.
For his career, Stairs hit 265 home runs between the Expos, Red Sox, A's, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Phillies, Padres, and Nationals. He played his last game on July 22, 2011, retiring with baseball's all-time record for pinch-hit home runs with 23, according to ESPN.com's Christina Kahrl.
Besides the players, long-serving Montreal Expos manager Felipe Alou and baseball writer Bob Elliott will also be induced.
A Matt Stairs story
I was nearly nine years old on Friday, July 5, 1996, and I was eager for my parents to take me to that evening's A's game against the California Angels, which was the Independence Day fireworks night. They arrived home to Alameda from their jobs in San Francisco pretty tired from the day and they just wanted to sit down for a little while before heading out.
The game was going to start at 6:15, however, this being a fireworks night after all, and I was pleading with them to get going so we don't miss anything. "Nothing ever happens in the first inning," one of my parents said, I can't recall who.
We eventually made the short drive to the Coliseum and made our way to our seats where, what do my eyes see, a tiny "3" for the three runs the Angels had scored in the top of the first inning, and a tiny "6" for the six runs already scored that inning. Oh I was so mad. I felt betrayed, because everything was happening in the first inning.
And then in the next instant, Matt Stairs hit the first of his 12 career grand slams in a performance Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times called "the game that established Matt Stairs as a bona fide major leaguer." It was just his 69th game, he was already 28.
Stairs also tied the then-major league record for RBI in one inning at six by hitting a two-run single as the 15th batter of the inning. In all, the A's batted 18 times for 13 runs, 9 hits, no errors, and two left on base, the Angels using three pitchers to get three outs.
This is the earliest baseball game I have a specific memory of attending. From then on, Matt Stairs joined the likes of Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, and Scott Brosius as players in my mind that could turn the game around in one swing of the bat, and good thing too because it seemed like the A's were doing a lot of playing from behind in those days.
I was never late to a game again, not if I could help it.
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