Mike Stanton 1984 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for June 29, 2017


Well, if we are going to do Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Stanton, we might as well go all the way and bring up THIS Mike Stanton as well.

Maybe this is why Giancarlo stopped going by Mike Stanton… because there have been too many of them.

Truth be told, I had forgotten about THIS Mike Stanton until I was writing yesterday’s post.

I will also be honest with you my dear readers. I don’t know a lot about THIS Mike Stanton and using his Baseball-Reference page as a guide as I sometimes do isn’t really helping matters here.

He was born in St. Louis. Does that mean he was FROM St. Louis. I was born in Willimantic, Connecticut and we moved when I was an infant. Someone doing lazy research on me would say “He grew up in Willimantic.” They would be wrong.

What makes it harder to figure out is he went to two different high schools. Now so did I because we moved from Massachusetts to California when I was in high school.

But this is suspicious because both high schools have the same name: Santa Fe. Both are listed in very different cities, oddly enough neither would be Santa Fe. So did he go to high school in Lakeland Florida or Santa Fe Springs California?

I will guess Florida as his college was Miami-Dade. But lots of people go to college in states they were not living in. It is very confusing.

The Rangers drafted him in 1972 but he didn’t sign. Then there was the confusing (but no fault of Mike Stanton) January draft they used to have. The Astros signed him in 1973.

Initially, he went right through the Astros farm system, putting up good numbers in Rookie Ball, A, AA and AAA, earning a call up at age 22 wit the Astros, even picking up a big league save in 1975.

But he pitched poorly in AAA for 1976 and did not get recalled. In 1977 pitching for Charleston he had a rebound season but still did not make it back to the majors.

Unable to make the big league squad in 1978, the Astros sold his contract to the Blue Jays, who were starting their second ever season. The change of scenery did not help as he had another poor season in AAA without a recall.

If Canada didn’t work, why not Venezuela? He played a year for Maracaibo before his contract ran out and he signed with the Cleveland organization, trying to find his way back to the majors.

After a few games in Tacoma, he finally made it back to the majors. 5 years after his cameo with the Astros, he was in the majors pitching a shutout inning for the Indians against the Angels on April 11, 1980.

On April 26th, he pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to secure a save. On May 17, against my beloved Boston Red Sox, he relieved Sid Monge in a tie game with 2 on and 2 out in the 7th. He got future Hall of Famer Tony Perez to fly out.

In the 8th, he retired Butch Hobson (my favorite player), catcher Dave Rader and perennial All Star Dwight Evans.

In the 9th, he faced trouble as Jerry Remy and Jim Dwyer singled and future Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski walked. He got Rick Burleson to pop up, future Hall of Famer Jim Rice to strike out and with the bases loaded and the game tied once again retired Perez.

The Indians couldn’t score in the 9th so Stanton went out there again, striking out Hobson getting Rader out and after walking Evans got out of the inning when “Dewey” was thrown out trying to steal.

This time Miguel Dilone, a previous subject in these baseball card posts, singled home Dell Alston with the walk off run. Mike Stanton was credited with his first major league win.

I don’t remember that game. I would have been pissed had I watched it.

Stanton pitched for Cleveland in 1980 and 1981. He went to Seattle in time to wear this beautiful 1980’s uniform for 3 1/2 seasons before pitching 11 games with the 1985 White Sox.

He would win 13 games over 6 1/2 seasons, saving 31 total with 7 saves here and 7 there while playing for non contenders in small markets.

He retired, according to Wikipedia, where he raised a son and 2 daughters. Did he raise them in Missouri? California? Florida? Cleveland? Venezuela? Your guess is as good as mine.

He was a Mike Stanton. Was he the best Mike Stanton in the majors? No. Was he the best pitcher named Mike Stanton in the majors? No.

But he was a big league pitcher, which not every Mike Stanton can say (even though it sometimes feels that every Mike Stanton can say that.)

Mike Stanton 1991 Score – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for June 28, 2017

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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.

Giancarlo Stanton 2016 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for June 27, 2017


What is in a name?

For Giancarlo Stanton, a name was the difference between being mistaken for a quality relief pitcher and having a name that could make him like one of those one named soccer stars.


Who hit that homer?


Sounds a lot better than “Mike.”

How the hell did he ever think Mike was the way to go? His full name is Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton. If you had told me that the “Most Interesting Man in the World” from the Dos Equis commercials was named Giancarlo Crus Michael Stanton, I’d believe you.

He is of Irish, Puerto Rican and African American, making him that very American form of melting pot. The LA native turned down football and baseball scholarships to sign with the Florida Marlins out of high school.

Stanton made a mockery of the minor leagues, hitting for a high average, posting an OPS bigger than 1.000 and launching homers left and right. For the cost conscious Marlins looking for a star to replace Miguel Cabrera, he looked to fit the part.

In 2010, Mike Stanton made his debut. Now of course there was another Mike Stanton who played in the World Series with the Bobby Cox Braves and the Joe Torre Yankees (and a smattering of other playoff teams along the way.) So now the Marlins had a cool young slugger and I had to do a double take each time.

Mike Stanton 2.0 did NOT disappoint! In 100 games, the 20 year old slugged 22 homers and had a solid OPS of .833. In 2011, he got some MVP votes as he clobbered 34 homers and saw his OPS climb to .893.

Then in the off season, everything seemed to change for the Florida Marlins and for the better. Ozzie Guillen joined the team as the manager. Jose Reyes, Mark Beuhrle and Heath Bell joined Hanley Ramirez and Stanton to give the team a star studded roster. The franchise was being renamed the Miami Marlins and finally they were moving out of a football stadium and they had their own baseball only park.

With all the changes, Stanton made a change along with everyone else and he was going to go by Giancarlo Stanton. No more confusing him with a quality left handed set up man. He was GIANCARLO!

That May he slugged 12 homers, batted .343 and saw his OPS soar to 1.201. The Marlins might have been underachieving, but Stanton was not as he was holding his own big time until an injury wiped him out in July.

By the time he returned a month later, the Marlins were in freefall. Guillen was a disaster, the team was losing and soon they were selling off their players. Everything had changed and nothing had changed in Miami.

Stanton continued to slug, posting OPS above 1.000 in August and September and crushing 18 homers in the final 2 months. But the Marlins were a mess.

In 2013, Stanton missed more time with injuries but mashed when he was in the lineup. In 2014, he made his second All Star Team and had the best season of his career. He led the NL in homers and slugging and having a .950 OPS in 638 plate appearances, finishing second to Clayton Kershaw in the MVP vote.

He was an elite player, but he was also a Marlin. Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before he joined another team. Rumors swirled about the Red Sox being a landing spot.

The Marlins signed him, shockingly, to a huge contract. It was a 13 year deal. Most careers don’t last 13 years. It was an extension for $325 million and would, if played out in full, keep in under Marlins control through 2028.

I truly hope I am still doing this blog 11 years from now. I think my kids will be done with college.

Now of course it is filled with opt out clauses for Giancarlo and after the 2020 season, if he is still an All Star, he would be bananas to NOT try free agency.

Of course if he gets hurt, he could stay in Miami and collect $30 million a year for 9 or 10 more seasons. I can not imagine that he is thrilled still playing for a team that can not seem to pull itself toward contention. But I hope he at least plays through 2020 there.

It would give him 11 seasons and a chance to have the franchise lead in virtually every single offensive category.

That would be truly cool, especially if you constantly answer the trivia question “Who is the Marlins all time leader in this category or that?” by saying with a flourish “It was GIANCARLO!!!!”