Giancarlo Stanton hit homer No. 51 on Tuesday night, another monster shot, another swing closer to home-run history. This time it’s the record for August, which Stanton tied with his 18th homer this month. One more in the next two days and he’ll pass Rudy York, who set the record way back in 1937.
With every ball that flies over the wall, Stanton comes closer to the famous home-run icons we all know. His 51 homers put him in rare air, as only Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire have hit that many before the end of the August. Will Stanton get to 62? There’s a chance. Will he get to 72? Probably not, but we’ll never know until Oct. 1.
One of those names is closer to Stanton than the others, and that’s Bonds, who Stanton credited for helping him during his monster season. Bonds was the Marlins hitting coach last year but lasted only one season in the job. He’s back with the San Francisco Giants now, in a front-office advisor job that’s less hands-on with the players.
Still, Stanton and Bonds have stayed in touch plenty, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
“Barry’s been huge for me,” Stanton said. “We talk all the time. He’s guided me along this year” …
Stanton said Bonds tells him “you’re going to get less pitches to hit, you’ve got to be ready for them, stuff like that.”
“He likes it,” Stanton said. “He’s telling me to stay the course and make sure I’m ready to go every day.”
Hitting 50 homers is sure to inspire PED accusations from comment-section commandos. But Bonds having any type of association with Stanton is sure to make things worse. (Imagine how it would be if Bonds was still Stanton’s hitting coach.)
But there’s more to this home-run barrage than Bonds. Stanton is 27 now, the peak of a baseball player’s career. He’s also been able to stay healthy this season, which hasn’t always been easy for him. In his seven previous season, he’s played more than 125 games just twice, once as a 21-year-old in 2011, and again in 2014 when he hit his previous career-high 37 homers in 145 games.
This year he’s played in 128 of the Marlins’ 131 games, which presents another reality: We’ve never actually seen what a full season of peak Giancarlo Stanton looks like. Remember that before smearing his name.
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