- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You’ve probably heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the trivia game that challenges players to connect fellow actors to Kevin Bacon. The idea is that Bacon has worked with so many, that just about anyone in Hollywood has some connection to him.

We got to wondering whether the same game could be applied to Matt Stairs, the Nationals’ 43-year-old pinch-hitting specialist. His career began in 1992, and we found he has links to some of the most legendary players in baseball — and the other major pro sports — in anywhere from four to seven steps.

For instance, Stairs was a teammate of Randy Velarde with the A’s in 2000; Velarde played with Tommy John in 1987; John with Early Wynn in 1963; Wynn with Ossie Bluege in 1939; and Bluege with “The Big Train,” himself, Walter Johnson, in Washington in 1922. (Research by Patrick Stevens)

Connection to: Babe Ruth

Matt Stairs (1992 Expos)

Dennis Martinez (1976 Orioles)

Brooks Robinson (1956 Orioles)

Dave Philley (1947 White Sox)

Red Ruffing (1934 Yankees)

BABE RUTH

Connection to: Walter Johnson

Matt Stairs (2000 Athletics)

Randy Velarde (1987 Yankees)

Tommy John (1963 Indians)

Early Wynn (1939 Senators)

Ossie Bluege (1922 Senators)

WALTER JOHNSON

Connection to: Shaquille O’Neal

Matt Stairs (2003 Pirates)

Joe Beimel (2005 Rays)

Mark Hendrickson (1998 Kings)

Mitch Richmond (2002 Lakers)

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL

Connection to: Wilt Chamberlain

Matt Stairs (1997 Athletics)

Jose Canseco (1998 Blue Jays)

Dave Stieb (1979 Blue Jays)

Danny Ainge (1982 Celtics)

Robert Parish (1977 Warriors)

Rick Barry (1966 Warriors)

Al Attles (1965 Warriors)

WILT CHAMBERLAIN

Connection to: Donovan McNabb

Matt Stairs (2003 Pirates)

Pokey Reese (2001 Reds)

Deion Sanders (2000 Redskins)

Mike Sellers (2010 Redskins)

DONOVAN MCNABB

Connection to: Mario Lemieux

Matt Stairs (2011 Nationals)

Brian Bixler (2008 Pirates)

Nyjer Morgan (2000 Regina Pats)

Barret Jackman (2003 Blues)

Tom Barrasso (1997 Penguins)

MARIO LEMIEUX

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