Even In A Down Year, Giancarlo Stanton’s Power Awes The New York Yankees

Giancarlo Stanton will be the first to tell people things are not going according to plan when he faces various inquiries about his bad nights.

On his good nights, Stanton’s colleagues and boss will often be found awestruck about what he can do with a pitch such as the 399 times he sent a ball flying over the fence.

Now Stanton is at 400, a milestone 57 others are at. It is not quite a number that gets automatic inclusion into the Hall of Fame but still notable.

“He’s as unique as I’ve ever seen, honestly,” said Aaron Boone, who once described Stanton’s power as “weird” “He can have those at-bats where his bat breaks in half, and the barrel ends up on the net behind the plate, and the next time [he can] hit it 118 mph]. I played against Gary Sheffield, who used to hit some rockets at you and hit the ball consistently hard on a line. But G is just unique in his own right.”

Besides those linked to the steroids scandals of the mid-2000s and even into a decade ago like Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, others not linked are Hall of Famers. Paul Konerko finished with 439 homers and has barely registered a ripple on the Hall of Fame when he got 10 votes in his first ballot in 2020 and was removed from the ballot.

Carlos Beltran is at 435 and the balloting will be interesting since there are some who think he belongs and those who hold his role in the 2017 Astros scandal against him.

As for Stanton, he is the fourth fastest to reach 400 homers, doing so in his 1,520th game, trailing only Mark McGwire, who hit 70 of his 583 homers in 1998, Alex Rodriguez, who ended with 696 homers and Babe Ruth who hit 714.

Stanton is ending his age 34 season with his lowest average in a career that began in 2010 when he hit 22 homers in 100 games and followed it up by slugging 34 in 150 games in 2011. He is at .205 which is six points lower than last year when injuries limited him to 110 games.

“He is a great teammate. He’s a great competitor,” Boone said. “This season hasn’t necessarily gone obviously the way he’d like. But he’s still out there grinding and he got a chance to finish in a very special way. Even through it all, he’s still gotten a lot of big hits for us, and tonight was one of them.

The moment happened in typical fashion for Stanton, a 1-1 slider that turned into a laser that soared over the bullpen into the first row of the left seats for a 451-foot blast.

“It’s a pretty cool feat,” Stanton said. “I didn’t have a number in mind when I first started this game, but it’s pretty cool to be here now. Keep it going.”

Stanton’s power was such a thing that left teammates awestruck. It even prompted ace Gerrit Cole to recount a moment when they met in the outfield in Miami. It was the day before Stanton took Cole deep on July 28, 2013, a time when Cole was establishing himself as a rookie with Pittsburgh and Stanton was at 104 homers.

During a meeting in the outfield during batting practice, Stanton requested a fastball down the middle. He made the request by promising him he would pull the ball the other way because his swing was out of sorts. Instead, Stanton drove the ball to deep left, like his 400th homer.

“What a blessing it is for me to have played against such a wonderful talent, and now be on the same side,” Cole said. “He’s a true professional in how he goes about his business and what he brings to the park every single day. He just totally redeemed himself tonight, getting me that win.”

What Cole and Boone said about Stanton sounded like comments made on July 8 when Stanton hit a ball into the third deck – the day before hitting coach Dillon Lawson was fired

“I think a home run like that should count for two,” Josh Donaldson said. It hit third deck?” Cole said. “Yeah, I mean, he’s a strong man. A very, very strong man. It’s a good jolt for us. We love seeing him have success. He works so hard.”

“I’ve never seen a ball go up there,” Boone said. “To hit it 118 mph that high, and to the direct pull side — yeah. You can’t make that up. That’s as weird as it gets.”

The praise from inside the Yankee clubhouse will always be there. Even if success has been fleeting for Stanton, who went 10-for-69 in his first 20 games back from missing nearly two months with a hamstring injury. While he has 13 of his 22 homers since the break, Stanton is 35-for-169 in that span with 57 strikeouts.

Still even in a down year and with positive results being harder to find, the moments when Stanton does connect can be electrifying and generate plenty of buzz from his co-workers.

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