Stanton wins first NL homer crown in Marlins history
Despite missing last 17 games of season, slugger paced league with 37
WASHINGTON -- Missing the final 17 games did not cost Giancarlo Stanton a chance to become the first player in Marlins history to win the National League home run crown.
Stanton's 37 homers held up by a sizable margin, as he ended up pacing the league. Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, who homered on Sunday, finished second with 32.
If not for being struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11, who knows how much better Stanton's numbers could have been.
"All of us were crushed when his season ended, not just because of the impact he had on our lineup," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "But the kind of year he was having. To see a guy so driven, so focused. He was really having a breakout year. We all wanted to see where he would finish up. It didn't end the way any of us anticipated."
Stanton matched his season high previously set in 2012. The two-time All-Star was hopeful of playing in all 162 games. If he had, he may have eclipsed Gary Sheffield's franchise record of 42 home runs in 1996.
The 24-year-old sensation also has 154 career homers, which matches Dan Uggla for the all-time franchise lead.
Along with leading the NL in home runs, Stanton paced the league with his .555 slugging percentage.
"[Stanton] is a special player," Redmond said. "He's a huge part of our team. I think we all realized how big a part, especially over the last few weeks without him. He had a tremendous year. I saw a lot of growth in him, not only as a player, but as a guy in the clubhouse. I think he really enjoyed himself.
"To be playing meaningful games into September, we really saw the best out of him. That was fun."
Before suffering multiple facial fractures, Stanton was considered a frontrunner for the NL Most Valuable Player Award.
In the eyes of the Marlins, he still is deserving. But Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates have increased their chances, especially since their respective teams are headed to the postseason.
Miami has never had an MVP. In 2009, Hanley Ramirez was second to Albert Pujols.
"I still feel like [Stanton] should win that," Redmond said. "I know I'm his manager, but for me, he's the MVP."