Father of Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton has kept close watch on his son’s home runs

06/19/2013 12:01 AM

09/08/2014 6:47 PM

Father’s Day wasn’t a Sunday-only affair for Mike Stanton like it was for most other dads.

Mike Stanton — the father of Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton — was at Chase Field on Monday when his son almost single-handedly won the game with a pair of home runs, including the 100th of his career.

“He texted me and said, ‘Sunday’s game is for you pops,’ ” Mike Stanton said. “I just looked at [Monday] as an extension of Father’s Day.”

Stanton hit a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth inning and the go-ahead shot off former Marlins closer Heath Bell in the ninth as the Marlins edged the Diamondbacks 3-2.

Stanton, at 23 years 221 days, became the 11th-youngest player in major-league history to reach the century mark. Some of the familiar names on the list with him: Mel Ott, Eddie Mathews, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Hank Aaron.

None of it comes as any huge surprise to Mike Stanton, who has witnessed his son’s prodigious power almost from the time he picked up a bat.

“He had the ability to launch them pretty young,” he said. “He hit the ball hard.”

Mike Stanton noticed that the distance of his son’s home runs increased by 30 to 40 feet a year, starting from the time Giancarlo was 10.

“So if he hit a couple of home runs in Little League at 10 years old at 210 feet, then the next year he was hitting them 250,” Mike Stanton said. “Actually, it kind of added up to the point where he was hitting them 500 feet.”

Mike Stanton recalls one home run in particular when Giancarlo was 11.

“He hit it probably 15 or 20 feet up over the fence ... and it hit a telephone pole and kicked back to the infield, he hit it so hard,” Mike Stanton said.

No wonder that Giancarlo was being intentionally walked, under orders of the opposing coach, when he was only 11, something that infuriated Mike Stanton.

“I got ticked off,” said Mike Stanton, who believes Little League is too soon for that sort of strategy.

“I’m not a showy person, or vocal. But I remember one time — the [coach] was intentionally walking him — and I think I called him a coward. I thought this is Little League. But this guy’s perception was, ‘Don’t pitch to him.’ ”

Mike Stanton said Giancarlo was so dedicated to sports while growing up that he stayed out trouble. Giancarlo’s worst offense as a child: carving his initials in a tree.

Educated guess

Having watched him so often last season as his teammate on the Marlins, Stanton guessed Bell would throw him a high fastball in Monday’s ninth inning. He guessed right, and Stanton took Bell deep for his 100th career homer, the go-ahead shot in Monday’s 3-2 win.

“It wasn’t a bad pitch on his part,” Stanton said. “It was up and away. It wasn’t like it was right down the middle.”

Said Bell: “I tried to throw him a pitch he couldn’t get to, and he got to it and hit it out. Giancarlo Stanton is a great hitter. He has incredible pop. Anytime he makes contact, the ball is going to go somewhere. I was trying to throw it out of the strike zone, and he happened to hit it.”

• To make room for Nathan Eovaldi, who made his season debut on Tuesday, the Marlins optioned left-handed reliever Edgar Olmos to Double A Jacksonville.

Coming up

•  Wednesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (4-3, 3.11 ERA) at Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Trevor Cahill (3-8, 3.96), 3:40 p.m., Chase Field.
•  Thursday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (0-5, 5.09) at Diamondbacks RHP Chad Guadin (2-1, 2.83), 10:15 p.m., AT&T Park.
•  Scouting report: Fernandez set a career high with 10 strikeouts in his last outing, a win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Fernandez is 4-1 with a 2.42 ERA over his past eight starts.

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