On Wednesday night, Giancarlo Stanton reached an important career milestone, launching the 350th home run of his career with a first-inning two-run homer off Baltimore Orioles starter Tyler Wells. A fairly significant milestone on the route to the 500-homer threshold that is often used as the baseline for Hall of Fame power hitters, Stanton’s feat was historic in two ways.
First, he was the seventh-fastest to the mark, taking 1341 games. Only Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols, Harmon Killebrew, Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Mark McGwire were faster. This is a fact that you have probably heard by this point. The other, however, is one you probably have not thought of: since Stanton made his debut in 2010, he has played the entirety of his career in the first era where the entirety of a player’s career is readily accessible online. Because of this, we can take a look back in time at Big G’s major milestones more easily than anyone who has ever hit 350 or more home runs ever before.
So let’s do exactly that. Without further ado, let’s see how one of our favorite power hitters has hit this historic personal milestone.
The date was June 18, 2010. The team was the Florida Marlins. The opponent was Matt Garza. It was the bottom of the first inning. And the bases were loaded.
So much has changed since this Friday afternoon matchup in Florida. The Florida Marlins have revamped their...well, everything, changing their name from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins, moving from the Hard Rock Stadium (then known as Sun Life Stadium) to loanDepot Park, and swapping the teal and silver for orange and blue. Stanton has adopted a more upright stance at the plate, having originally stood with bended knees in a manner similar to Aaron Judge’s current stance. On that day, he was batting seventh in the lineup. It wouldn’t be until the following year that he would find himself in the cleanup spot in which he has become so accustomed. But you know what hasn’t changed? That prodigious power, the ability to take any pitch and knock it into next Tuesday. Boy, wouldn’t it have been nice to have Statcast back then?
It took almost no time for Big G to fly up the home run rankings. Despite making his debut in June, he hit 22 home runs as a rookie in 2010, and by mid-August 2011, he added another 25 to bring his total to 47. Starting on August 11th, he began a stretch in which he homered in four straight games — once against the Giants at home, then three times in Colorado. The third homer, on August 16th, would be the 50th of his career.
Down 5-3, Edgmer Escalona came on for his third inning for the Rockies in the top of the 7th. Stanton came to the plate to lead off the inning, facing Escalona for the first time. He took a 93-mph fastball up and in and deposited it deep into the left field seats in a way that he has done so many times.
The 2013 Marlins had an absolutely horrendous lineup. Just how bad were they? Jayson Nix and Vernon Wells would have been substantial upgrades at shortstop and left field. Besides Stanton, the only hitter with an OPS+ above 100 was a 21-year-old Christian Yelich.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that, heading into the top of the ninth inning on June 17, the Marlins and Diamondbacks were tied at two because Stanton had hit a two-run bomb in the 6th. Then, the D-backs brought in Heath Bell to replace Patrick Corbin, who had shut out every Miami hitter except Stanton across the first eight innings. After he struck out Ed Lucas to lead off the inning, Bell tried to blow a fastball past Stanton. And you know what’s typically a bad idea? Trying to blow a fastball past Stanton.
The Stantons — uh, I mean the Marlins — would go on to win the game by the score of 3-2, all three runs coming off the bat of Stanton and landing in the seats.
You could make the case that Giancarlo Stanton would have won the 2014 NL MVP had he not been hit in the face by Mike Fiers on September 11th. Despite playing only 145 games, he led the National League with 37 home runs (Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz was the only player in all of baseball to have more), and his 6.8 fWAR by that point was second in the NL only to Buster Posey; in the end, he settled for a second-place finish behind Clayton Kershaw.
In that stretch, he hit No. 150, a laser shot into the Los Angeles night off Angels pitcher Cory Rasmus on August 25th.
Everything about this one — the crack of the ball of the bat, the arc of the ball that’s neither a line drive nor a fly ball, the slight pose of a man who realized he got all of it — is a familiar sight to Yankees fans today. The announcer noted “how privileged we are...to get to see this guy night in and night out.” While he was talking about Marlins fans, the sentiment rings true today.
Big G hit the 200th home run of his career in the Big Apple, only it came two years before he found himself in pinstripes. On a Wednesday afternoon in July (the 6th, specifically), Stanton led off the fourth inning against Mets starter Jacob deGrom with a solo shot to cut the deficit to 3-1. Two innings later, he came to the plate with one out in the 6th — and he did it again.
He absolutely crushed it off the future Mets ace — remember, this was 2016, back when deGrom was merely “a good starter on the Mets,” not “the best pitcher on the planet” — with the outfield not even bothering to move. It was Stanton’s second straight two-homer game.
Most of the these milestones have been about two years apart, slightly less than he was healthy. Stanton’s 250th long ball, however, came hardly more than a year after his 200th, on August 13, 2017. Well, a 59-home run season certainly helps you climb the rankings quickly, doesn’t it?
With the Marlins down 3-2 in the bottom of the 3rd, Rockies starter Germán Márquez tried to get Stanton to chase a 3-2 pitch just off the outer part of the plate. Well, Stanton simply flipped his wrist and launched a fly ball down the right field line.
Not only was it the 250th home run of his career, it was his 42nd of the season — tying the Marlins franchise record. He set the franchise record, and it was August 13th! Yea, I don’t think that record’s going to be broken anytime soon.
Following that historic season, the Miami Marlins decided to tear it all down, flipping Stanton to the Yankees in the 2017-2018 offseason. On August 18th of that year, he hit his 299th home run, a solo shot against the Blue Jays; it was his second homer in as many days. Unfortunately for him, this would not play out like his 50th home run, and Big G would spend the next two weeks homerless, chasing that elusive No. 300.
Rather fittingly, it occurred at home, in a matchup against the Detroit Tigers on August 30th. Facing Francisco Liriano with Aaron Hicks on first and two out, Stanton took a 3-1 breaking pitch the other way and launched it over the short porch.
The Stadium, and his teammates, exploded in celebration, and the slugging outfielder who had helped carry the team while Aaron Judge sat on the injured list received a well-earned curtain call.
After he hit 38 home runs in his first season as a Yankee, it seemed likely that Stanton would get to 350 in short order. The 2019 and 2020 seasons, however, proved to be absolute disasters for him. Due to a biceps strain and a knee injury, he was limited to just 18 games in 2019, while the global pandemic and a hamstring injury limited him to 23 in 2020. Across those two seasons, he totaled just seven home runs.
The 2021 season, fortunately, saw a return to form for Stanton, who blasted 35 home runs. Heading into 2022 just three home runs shy of 350, many wondered how soon he would reach the milestone — and after homering in back-to-back games against the Boston Red Sox to start the season, we began to wonder if he’d get it out of the way within the first weekend. Alas, after those two days, Stanton’s bat froze. For the next 17 days, he went homerless, until finally, on Wednesday, April 27th, he decided enough was enough. Facing Orioels starter Tyler Wells and with Judge on first, Big G did his very best to give a lucky member of the Bleacher Creatures a historic souvenir.
It was the quintessential Stanton Yankee Stadium bomb — a pitch on the outside half of the plate, a flick of the wrists, and a long fly ball to the opposite field. It gave the Yankees the lead, one that they would not surrender, it got the milestone monkey off his bat, and hopefully, it jump-starts one of Giancarlo’s patented hot streaks during which he can carry the team single-handedly.
Because as these home runs remind us, when Giancarlo Stanton is hitting home runs, there are few things more enjoyable to watch.