I talked about Giancarlo Stanton yesterday and I realized that in my first attempt of my blog post, I was writing a lot about the OTHER player who was called Mike Stanton. So why not give him a post today.
THAT Stanton pitched for 19 seasons from 1989 to 2007… or as I like to call it “From my junior year of high school to my sons’ second birthday. That’s a long time to have a Mike Stanton in our baseball lives.
The post seasons of 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 all featured Mike Stanton. And he also participated in the 2005 AL East race that went down to the last weekend. He pitched for both the Yankees AND the Red Sox that year.
So when you have a player who has been part of my life for such a long stretch, you can understand why I was relieved when the Marlins slugger changed his name to Giancarlo.
The Texas native emerged with the Braves in the late 1980’s just as all the Glavines and Smoltzs and Averys of the world were beginning to blossom. He posted a 1.50 ERA over his 20 games in Atlanta with the 1989 squad.
After a 1990 lost season, he was on the big league roster for good in 1991, saving 7 games and having a 2.88 ERA for the eventual NL champs.
He was a regular in the bullpen for the Braves as they kept participating in October. He even was the closer for a period in 1993. But when the Braves finally won it all, he was in Boston, having being dealt to the Red Sox in 1995, the same year the Braves won the title. He played in the Division Series for Boston that year, but it must have stung to see all the players he came up with celebrating without him.
He had Division Series losses in 1996 with the Rangers and 1997 with the Yankees. But in 1998, he was part of the anchor of one of the great bullpens of all time and earned his ring with the Yankees.
He then pitched in the 1999 World Series and earned ring number 2 with the Yankees. then he pitched in the 2000 World Series, won a pair of games and earned ring number 3 for the Yankees.
What I am saying is don’t cry for him. He has his share of rings.
In 2001, he was named to the All Star Team, a rarity for middle relievers but he was super effective that year.
After the 2002 playoffs, Stanton bounced around between the Mets, the Nationals, the Giants and the Reds.
In 2005, he returned to the Yankees, hoping to recapture the old magic of the 1990’s bullpens. He fared poorly in New York and was dumped to Washington. He pitched better with the Nats but when they stopped contending, Stanton found himself back with the Red Sox.
Along with Alan Embree and Mark Bellhorn, Stanton played for both the Red Sox AND the Yankees in 2005.
Stanton’s career ended in 2007 with a subpar season with the Reds. Just as this Mike Stanton was wrapping up his career, the other Mike Stanton, AKA Giancarlo, was drafted by the Marlins.
His career might not have been as highlight worthy as Giancarlo’s, but I am sure a lot of people would take the million dollar checks and multiple World Series rings of MIKE Stanton.