Men's Health

BOMBS AWAY!

Source: Stanton averages a homer every 13.4 at bats, the highest rate in the majors and fourth best in the history of the game, behind Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth, and Barry Bonds.

GIANCARLO STANTON WAS DOWN IN THE COUNT: ONE BALL, TWO STRIKES. HE WAS JUST TRYING TO MAKE SOLID CONTACT, he later explained, which is why his home run off Pirates pitcher Tyler Glasnow last June traveled a mere 449 feet, considerably shorter than many moonshots Stanton has launched in his pro career, dating back to his time in the minors. (We’re thinking, in particular, of the 500-plusfoot meteorite he sent screaming over the scoreboard of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits in 2010.) Stanton’s clout off Glasnow, though modest by his own standards, came within inches of exiting Pittsburgh’s PNC Park and finding the Allegheny River. “Do you ever take that for granted,” a reporter asked Stanton after the game, “that you can hit a ball that far?”

“No, never take it for granted,” replied Stanton, then in his eighth season with the Miami Marlins. If you do that, he added, “this game will hit you right in the mouth.”

He wasn’t speaking figuratively.

Stanton was leading the National League in home runs (37) on September 11, 2014, when he stepped in against the Milwaukee Brewers’ Mike Fiers. It would be his last at bat of the season. With the count 0-1, Fiers delivered an 88 mph fastball that got away from him. The ball stoved in the left side of Stanton’s face, fracturing bones, knocking out teeth, damaging his jaw, and creating a laceration that required more than 20 stitches to close. After medical personnel attended to him for several minutes, Stanton was placed on a gurney and wheeled off the field. Distraught after watching Stanton crumple to the ground, Fiers proceeded to plunk the next batter too. Players from both teams poured onto the field.

It boded

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