Giancarlo Stanton has been one of the most exciting hitters in baseball for pretty much the past decade. Prior to his 2019 season with the New York Yankees, where he only played in 18 regular-season games, Stanton had hit 22 or more home runs in every season in his career. Early in Stanton’s career, though, people did not call him Giancarlo. He actually went by Mike. So, why does he no longer go by Mike?
Giancarlo Stanton is one of the most exciting hitters in baseball
Stanton made his MLB debut with the Florida Marlins (now the Miami Marlins) in 2010. He appeared at the plate in 100 games that season and hit 22 home runs to go with 59 RBIs.
In 2011, though, Stanton took another step production-wise. He hit 34 home runs for the Marlins and drove in 87 runs. Stanton then earned his first All-Star selection during the 2012 season, as he had a career-high .290 batting average to go with 37 home runs and 86 RBIs. He also led the NL with a .608 slugging percentage.
Stanton continued to play well in 2013, and then in 2014, he led the NL with 37 home runs and a .555 slugging percentage. He also drove in 105 RBIs, and earned the first of two consecutive All-Star selections.
In 2015, Stanton did earn an All-Star selection, but he only played in 74 games. Then, after having a solid season in 2016, Stanton was the best hitter in all of baseball in 2017. He had a .281 batting average, and he led the NL in home runs with 59, in RBIs with 132, and in slugging percentage with .631. Stanton not only earned his second Silver Slugger, but he also won the NL MVP award.
Prior to the 2018 season, the Marlins traded Stanton to the New York Yankees. He ultimately hit 38 home runs and had 100 RBIs in 2018 for the Yankees. He also got to play in the first postseason games of his career. After hitting a home run in the Wild Card win over the Oakland Athletics, though, he only had a .222 batting average in the ALDS.
Stanton only played in 18 regular-season games in 2019 with the Yankees. He did play some in the playoffs, though. After going 1-for-6 in the ALDS, he went 2-for-7 with a home run in the ALCS.
Stanton went by Mike in his first two MLB seasons
According to The New York Times, through high school and during his first two seasons with the Marlins, Stanton went by Mike Stanton.
By the time he was in junior high, he had grown tired of classmates mocking his actual name, Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton. He and his friend Enrique then decided that they would go by Mike and Ricky.
“He came in one day,” Stanton’s mother, Jacinta Garay, said, according to The New York Times, “and said: ‘Mom, I hate my name. Why did you name me that?’ And on and on.”
Why did he go back to Giancarlo?
Stanton took his first trip to Europe following the 2011 season — the last season that he went by Mike. While he was there, he noticed how it sounded to hear names like Giancarlo, according to The New York Times.
When he returned to the United States, he told his parents that he would no longer go by Mike the next season.
Stanton said to The Times that it was about growing up and having an appreciation for what is important to him. What comes with that is making sure people know him by his actual name.
He has also pointed out the uniqueness of his name.
“You’ve got something unique, you don’t run from it, you embrace it,” Stanton said, according to The New York Times. “I’ve met some cool fans that come up and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got the same name.’ But, personally, there’s no one in my phone that I say, ‘Oh, what up, Giancarlo?’ I like the uniqueness of it.”
Whether he goes by Mike or Giancarlo, MLB fans know that Stanton is one of the most exciting hitters in baseball.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference