Giancarlo Stanton is on an unbelievable hot streak and has 50 home runs on the season. The Miami Marlins slugger has a realistic chance of passing Roger Maris’ 61-homer campaign of 1961. The baseball world is understandably impressed with Stanton’s torrid season.
But, as I wrote earlier this month, Maris’ mark is not the official benchmark, no matter how dirty it may feel to the seriously self-righteous. For context, consider this incredible stat.
Stanton’s first-inning at-bat against the Washington Nationals tonight was his 477th of the year. Bonds had 476 at-bats for the entirety of 2001, when he hit his 73 longballs.
At this rate, Stanton will easily end up with 100 more official at-bats than Bonds. For the sake of argument, let’s say he does reach the 62-homer mark in 600 official at-bats. That’s a blistering pace — one homer every 9.67 ABs. In 2001, Bonds hit one every 6.52.
Again, using the same sample size, Bonds hit 73 homers while Stanton has hit 50. The disparity is obvious and jaw-dropping.
I understand that the argument against Bonds — and Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire for that matter — goes beyond the numbers. But if you must diminish his 2001 numbers, at least take a second to consider how superhuman they were — clean or otherwise. We will never see anything like it again.