It might be the closest decision of any position in Miami Marlins history. Which player, Giancarlo Stanton, or Gary Sheffield is the greatest right fielder ever?
Now, this is the kind of debate I love to have when it comes to all-time greats who have worn a Miami Marlins jersey. You have to hand it to Joe Frisaro for stirring the pot with this topic as it comes down to a simple question. Who is the greatest right fielder in team history? Is it Gary Sheffield or Giancarlo Stanton?
Everyone pause for a moment and think this through. There really isn’t a wrong answer here, as both players helped shape this organization in the time there were on the roster. One, Stanton, was a homegrown talent. The other, Sheffield, came to the Marlins organization at the right moment.
This isn’t a question so much about which player did more in their career. Rather it’s about the impact and how they were able to define themselves with the Marlins. Sheffield is a borderline Hall of Fame candidate. Stanton, if be can stay healthy, should be a player for consideration once he hangs his cleats up.
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“A second-round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft, Stanton’s selection is perhaps the biggest steal the organization has ever had,” Frisaro writes. “Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton was a physical phenom in high school, playing football, baseball and basketball. The then-17-year-old slugger turned down an opportunity to play football for Pete Carroll at the University of Southern California, signing for $475,000 with the Marlins.”
With a tight end’s build and power that has sent baseballs out of stadiums, Stanton’s legend continued to grow with each year he played for the Marlins, from the minor leagues to the Majors. Injuries took away part of his growth and development, which could have already placed him in rarified air in league history.
For Sheffield, he was instrumental in helping the Marlins win the World Series in 2003 after coming over to the franchise in a deal the prior to the starter of the season. His six seasons in a Marlins uniform are as good as any player in team history.
“From 1993-98, Sheffield hit in the heart of the Marlins’ order, and he was a big part of the ’97 World Series title team. In ’96, Sheffield had a monster season, belting 42 home runs and driving in 120 runs. His .465 on-base percentage and 1.090 OPS topped the NL. The 42 home runs remained a Marlins record until Stanton delivered 59 in 2017,” adds Frisaro.
“In ’97, Sheffield hit 21 home runs and added 71 RBIs. The Marlins traded Sheffield during the ’98 season to the Dodgers, and the slugger spent four seasons with Los Angeles before playing for four clubs in the final eight seasons of a 22-year MLB career. In his six seasons with the Marlins, he finished with 122 home runs and 380 RBIs, and he is regarded as one of the top players in franchise history.”
I favor Sheffield in this case, but Frisaro sides with Stanton. It might be the closest race of any position for the organization. Stanton belted 59 home runs in 2017 en route to the National League MVP. In a season that wasn’t magical for the ball club, the right fielder brought fans to the ballpark to see if he could get to the 60-home run mark in Marlins Park.
That season was also the last time Stanton shared an outfield with 2018 National League MVP Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. The Miami Marlins were sold to Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman that offseason.
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