Giancarlo Stanton has joined the 300 home run club on a two-run shot off of Tigers southpaw Francisco Liriano that landed in the right-field bleachers. Stanton had been on the cusp of joining the club for a while, going parts of 12 games and 40 at-bats chasing the right pitch to drive. Unfortunately, the lead that homer provided his team with was squandered later on some questionable strategic moves as reported by NJ Advance Media. Still, the shot provided Stanton with entry to what is still considered to be a special fraternity in baseball.
Stanton reached 300 homers in his 1,119th career game, which makes him the fifth fastest to that milestone in baseball history. The only players to get there faster are Ralph Kiner, Ryan Howard, Juan Gonzalez, and Alex Rodriguez. The numbers put up by Gonzalez and Rodriguez are considered tainted by many fans as both were found to have violated the MLB policy regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Regardless of how those accomplishments are viewed, it still means Stanton is breathing rare air with this achievement. At 28, he is also the ninth fastest to 300 homers by age.
He is also the 147th player overall to hit 300 or more career home runs in the MLB, and the 37th player to wear a Yankee uniform that is a member of the 300 home run club. While some of those guys barely played for the Yankees, such as Richie Sexson and Lance Berkman who only managed one dinger each as Yankees, it also puts him in the company of Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and Joe DiMaggio. Anytime a player gains entry into a circle that contains those names, they have done something special.
Last year with the Marlins, Stanton hit a career-high 59 homers which helped him look up the MVP award. This year with the Yankees, he has clouted 33 round trippers which leads the team. Despite posting solid numbers, he has been criticized by Yankee fans much of the year for not hitting as well as he did with Miami and for enduring prolonged droughts at the plate such as the 6 for 38 ten-game homerless slump he was riding entering last night’s game.
All criticisms aside, the Bronx fans gave him a solid ovation and showed him how much he is appreciated for being tough and staying in the lineup with a lingering leg injury to be the Yankees’ biggest threat to go yard. If he remains healthy, most analysts believe Stanton has strong odds to join the 500 home run club, and potentially even make a run at 600.