Stairs takes pride in pinch-hitting record

Stairs takes pride in pinch-hitting record

MILWAUKEE -- He might have been joking, but Padres veteran Matt Stairs said Sunday that his historic home run ball from Saturday will likely end up displayed in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in Ontario before it does in Cooperstown.

Stairs, a native Canadian, set the Major League record for career pinch-hit home runs on Saturday when he hit his 21st in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers. That home run allowed Stairs to pass Cliff Johnson, who previously held the record.

"I take a lot of pride in pinch-hitting and I've struggled at it this year," Stairs said. "I'm proud and honored to have the pinch-hit home run record. But I'm not going to sit here and smoke a stogie over it."

Stairs, who wasn't sure he was going to play this season until the Padres approached him about doing so, is glad he decided to put off retirement for at least one more season.

"The season has gone perfect -- it's a bonus breaking a record and being in first place," Stairs said.

The Padres were able to retrieve the ball when it bounced back on the field. But the ball was nearly lost against when Brewers outfielder Chris Dickerson prepared to throw it in the outfield seats.

Several members of the Padres in the bullpen stopped him before he could.

"He couldn't understand why we wanted it," said Padres closer Heath Bell. "He said, '[Stairs] has three home runs.'"