BANGOR, Maine — It was supposed to be a weekend to remember for Matt Stairs, with his induction into New Brunswick’s Sports Hall of Fame.
But the weekend was marred for the former Major League Baseball player when his home in Bangor was burglarized while he was away in Canada.
Stairs, a native of Moncton, New Brunswick, was in that city Saturday night when one of his daughters called him and told him the house had been broken into.
“As soon as I heard I jumped in the car and drove the five hours to get back,” Stairs said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning.
Stairs said the burglars took jewelry, including his National League and American League championship rings, a National League championship pendant belonging to his wife and some watches.
Stairs declined to say whether he had notified any pawnshops in the Bangor area of the thefts. The NLCS and ALCS rings have his name on them.
“I just basically reported what was taken, and [I’ll] let Bangor PD take care of the rest,” said Stairs, who was wearing his World Series ring, which he won in 2008 with the Philadelphia Phillies, at the time of the Hall of Fame induction.
He is happy his family was OK, and said he hopes police are able to catch the perpetrators soon.
“What makes me angry is that someone violates your privacy and breaks into your house,” said Stairs. “Let me put it this way: It won’t happen again.”
Stairs’ Bangor home does have a security system, but he said the burglars went through a window in the home that didn’t trigger the alarm.
“The bottom line is it was some punk breaking in and making an easy [getaway],” he said.
Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards confirmed that police responded to a report of a burglary in the area on Saturday, but he declined to give specifics. He said no arrests have been made.
Stairs, who broke into the major leagues in 1992 with the Montreal Expos, played 19 seasons in the big leagues with 12 different teams, the most of any position player in MLB history. He also holds the MLB record for most career pinch-hit home runs with 23, including one for the Phillies in the 2008 NLCS against the Dodgers.
That blast, in Game 4 of the series, proved to be the game-winning run for the Phillies, who won the series in five games en route to their World Series triumph.
Stairs played for the Expos, Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals.
He was a member of the 2006 Detroit club that won the American League pennant.
Stairs, who currently works as a studio analyst for NESN on a part-time basis, finished his career with a .262 batting average, 265 home runs and 899 runs batted in.
Stairs hung up his cleats after the Nationals released him 2011.
He said the New Brunswick Hall of Fame typically waits until an athlete has been retired for five years before nominating him for induction.
“They passed that and put me in through eight months of retirement, so it’s quite an honor,” he said.