Could Stanton Be The Post Steroid-Era Savior?

September 26, 2017

Miami+Marlins+outfielder+Giancarlo+Stanton+swinging+at+the+ball.

Photo by: Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton swinging at the ball.

With the baseball season coming down to the wire, Miami Marlins slugging right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is sitting at 57 home runs and is within arm’s reach of what baseball purists believe is the single-season home-run record.

Stanton will be looking to surpass the mark of 61 home runs in 162 games set by Yankees’ legend Roger Maris in 1961, a feat that will be met with excitement and jubilation, but also speculation and skepticism because of baseball’s troubled past.

Although the record books show that the mark to beat is 73 home runs in 162 games, that number has a bit of controversy hanging over it since it was set by Barry Bonds in 2001.

The controversy that surrounds the current single-season home-run record is that it occurred during the period of the late 1980s through the late 2000s referred to as “the steroids era.”

In that era, the long ball was a common occurrence, and home run totals soared; many names are connected to this era, but none more prevalent than the three atop the single-season home run charts — Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, between 1998, the records atop the charts were set with Bonds at 73 followed by McGwire at 70, Sosa at 66 and in 2001, it was McGwire with 65 followed by Sosa twice more with 64 and 63, respectively.

These records are marked with asterisks beside them from fans who decided to omit records set in that period, which leaves Maris’ 61 the number to beat.

The 2017 season has been nothing short of spectacular for Stanton and while being considered a serious MVP candidate, he has achieved a single-season career high in home runs.

Already one of baseball’s most feared hitters and 2016 home run derby champion is known for his sky high home runs that pass distances of 500 feet as he now approaches 61, there will surely be a divide on whether he will be the true home run king.

“The record is the record,” Stanton said in an interview in August with the Sun-Sentinel. “But, personally, I do think the record is 61.”

But with his home run total soaring and display of power unmatched and unseen since the “steroids era,” Stanton too will be facing speculations and skeptics from those who feel burned by the sins of past players. As will any other hitter who displays tremendous amounts of power in the current post steroid era.

At the age of 27, the odds of him eventually surpassing the 61 home run mark are on his side. Ultimately, the debate will continue until the mark set by Maris is broken and the player who achieves that feat will truly become home run king.

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