Miami Marlins mashers: Stanton and Sheffield stand apart
Matching and breaking franchise records has never been difficult for Marlins players. But Sunday afternoon saw an event twenty-one years in the making.
That the Miami Marlins are one of the three youngest franchises in the majors is bad enough. Then throw in the fact that the Fish have pretty much led the league in roster turnover since 1997. It’s easy to see how most franchise milestones haven’t exactly been hard to eclipse these past twenty-five seasons.
Eclipse, get it? Gotta milk the one non-political trendy story out there.
Anyway, back to the franchise history of catchable records. Ricky Nolasco is your Marlins all-time leader in wins. That says a lot. Christian Yelich already sitting in tenth place for doubles might make sense, but the fact that he recently passed Cody Ross says way more about player tenures in Miami than it does about the Toy Cannon being undervalued.
That Giancarlo Stanton leads team in all-time home runs should be no surprise, but the fact that he’s held a piece of that title since 2014 probably should be. The turnover there has been ludicrous since 1997, with six Marlins having passed Gary Sheffield‘s 122 HRs.
But there has always been one record that seemed unreachable. Sheffield’s 42 HRs in 1996. An impressive total even without the fact that it likely played a huge role in convincing Wayne Huizenga to go for broke in free agency that next, championship season.
Close, but no cigar
For six years after, no one came close. Mike Lowell might have made things interesting if he had played the last month of 2003, but home run tallies in the low thirties were the rule every season since.
Miguel Cabrera seemed a lock, but never quite got there. At least not as a Marlin. Both he and Derrek Lee would pass 42 in another uniform. Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla provided consistent power production, but still not ever at a clip to challenge the single-season mark.
Then there was Stanton. And with all his fabled power, there was every confidence that his first full season in the majors would be the last full season Sheffield’s record would stand up.
It’s been a long six years for Miami Marlins fans. All the injuries, all the slumps, the complete lack of lineup protection in 2013…all have sapped swings away from Miami’s Herculean slugger. Despite all that though, he’s still probably going to end the season having hit more home runs than anyone else in the majors since making his big league debut.
However, this 2017 power show is the first time it feels like the full promise of Stanton’s prodigious power is being realized. It took Sheffield almost exactly one month longer to hit his 42nd homer back on September 12, 1996. An achievement he curiously enough followed up with a fourteen game power outage to close out the season.
Next: Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton is super good at baseball
Stanton has a staggering forty-five remaining games to add to his new record. In the process, he sets a new bar for future Marlins to pass.
If he keeps this pace up, even he could be hard pressed to eclipse this one.