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Giancarlo Stanton Smashed Home Run Number FIFTY On Sunday -- Can He Pass Roger Maris?

San Diego Padres v Miami Marlins

On Sunday, Giancarlo Stanton became the first player since Chris Davis in 2013 to reach 50 homers in a single season. For Davis, though, he didn’t hit his 50th home run until September 13, his 146th game of the season. Stanton reached 50 homers in 127 games and is currently on pace to finish the season with 63. IF — and this is somewhat of a big “if” — Stanton can pass Roger Maris’ total of 61 homers from 1961, there will once again be widespread debate over whether or not he’s the true single season home run king.

We obviously know why that would even be up for debate. Sammy Sosa passed Maris THREE times — 66 homers in 1998, 63 homers in 1999, and 64 homers in 2001 — while Mark McGwire did it twice (70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999), and Barry Bonds did it once (73, 2001). I’m sitting next to Starting 9 producer Justin Havens as I write this, and I said out loud, “Sammy Sosa passed Roger Maris three times,” and couldn’t say it without laughing. That kind of speaks to the validity of those home run totals.

Now, I’m not going to be one of those guys who says that if Stanton finishes the season with 63 homers that he’s now the true single season home run king. Bonds hit those home runs. Sosa and McGwire did, too. Yes, they were juiced to the gills when they hit them. But they hit them, and I still want Bonds in the Hall of Fame. That being said, passing Maris is still a big fucking deal. At least, to me it is.

Never mind passing 61 — even hitting 50 home runs should be considered a big deal these days. Between 1995 and 2002, ten guys — Albert Belle, Brady Anderson, Luis Gonzalez, Ken Griffey Jr., Greg Vaughn, Jim Thome, A-Rod, Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa — had EIGHTEEN 50-homer seasons over that eight-year span. In the 14 years since then, we’ve seen just eight 50-homer seasons by eight different players, one of which was from A-Rod. Just felt like that was worth mentioning; I dunno.

So, I ask you — can Stanton pass Maris? The Marlins have four games left on their schedule for the month of August, which has been his biggest home run month yet. He’s blasted 17 homers in August, 12 in July, and hasn’t had fewer than seven in any month this year. Throughout his entire career, he’s homered the fewest in September/October out of any month, but he’s also played the fewest games in September/October of any month, mostly due to his injury history.

Now I have to fucking do math and calculate the rates of at-bats per home run for every month. I fucking hate doing math. Hold on one second. Throughout his career, Stanton’s AB/HR per month is as follows — April (16.31), May (12.24), June (16.20), July (12.82), August (10.78), September/October (13.39). Okay, so Stanton has hit a home run once every 13.39 at-bats in the month of September/October throughout his career, which is the fourth best rate of the six months of the season, but it’s a lot closer to his good months than it is to his bad.

Entering play today, Stanton is averaging 3.75 at-bats per game. The Marlins have 33 games remaining on their schedule. If Stanton gets 3.75 at-bats per game over the Marlins’ last 33 games, then he will hit 9.2 home runs based on his previous career averages, and he’ll finish the year at 59 homers, two shy of tying Maris, three short of passing him. The good thing about baseball is that ya never fucking know, and as long as pitchers keep choosing to pitch to BDS, then I think he has a real shot at it. Statistics and logic be damned. Sometimes sports just don’t make sense, and that’s what I’m hoping for in this case.