Giancarlo Stanton has become one of baseball's most recognizable names. The recently traded, prodigiously powerful slugger led the majors with 59 homer and 132 RBIs en route to winning the NL MVP award. Now that he's been traded from the Marlins to the Yankees and will be playing in under the New York media microscope, Stanton's name will almost certainly become even more ubiquitous.
However, the casual baseball fan may not know that Giancarlo Stanton was actually known as Mike Stanton throughout his high school and minor league days, and even through his first two years in the majors. It wasn't until shortly before the 2012 season that Stanton announced he'd like to henceforth be referred to as Giancarlo Stanton.
So, why did he decide to change his public name?
First and foremost, it's his given name. Stanton's full name is Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton, and to add another layer to this already complicated name story, his mother actually calls him Cruz. He has said that he started going by Mike when he was younger because his classmates had difficulty pronouncing Giancarlo. (Side note: While Giancarlo is a distinctly Italian name, Stanton does not have Italian heritage. His parent simply liked the name Giancarlo. Can you blame them?)
Stanton never officially changed his name to Mike—he still signed legal documents as Giancarlo. So when he became a famous major league baseball player and didn't have to worry about people mispronouncing his name, Stanton went back to Giancarlo. Reasonable enough.