Yankees fans booed Giancarlo Stanton the first time he ever played in pinstripes.
Never mind that, less than a week earlier, he had hit two homers in his Yankees debut. Or that the blockbuster trade acquisition was coming off an MVP season. No, a five-strikeout performance on April 3, 2018—Stanton’s first home game at Yankee Stadium—was enough to warrant jeers from the Bronx faithful.
“I was awful today,” Stanton said after that game, an 11-4 Yankees win over the Rays. “You put up a performance like that, you should get some boos.”
Similar hoots and hollers have followed Stanton throughout his Yankees career, which is now in it’s fourth season. Stanton has a 135 OPS+ since coming to New York, but he has always been streaky and has missed significant time due to injuries. Yankees fans, meanwhile, are rarely patient and often of the What have you done for me lately? mindset.
Lately—and really throughout the entire 2021 season—however, Stanton has given them little to complain about.
Stanton heard boos once again early this year, but he is slashing .277/.359/.520 with 34 homers, 93 RBI and a 139 wRC+. There is a week left in the regular season, and he has played in 133 games—his most since 2018.
Most recently, he pulverized the Red Sox in Boston, going 7-for-12 with three homers and 10 RBI during New York’s pivotal three-game sweep. He left zero runners on base and became the first Yankee ever with 10 or more RBI in a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Stanton was even recognized as the American League Player of the Week, batting .409 with a 1.000 slugging percentage over the last six games.
The Yankees came away from the weekend with a one-game lead on the top wild card spot, and Stanton was at the center of making it happen.
“That’s what he does. That’s the type of player he is,” Aaron Judge said Sunday after New York’s 6-3 comeback win, in which he and Stanton were instrumental. “He comes up in big moments for us and just continues to deliver, deliver, deliver.”
Judge didn’t stop there with his praise for his fellow slugger. He also alluded to the ups and downs Stanton has endured, as well as the lack of appreciation he’s received.
“That’s a man that really hasn’t gotten enough credit for what he’s done. Coming here to New York, one of the biggest superstars in the game coming out of Miami, that’s tough,” Judge said. “He’s a guy that, day in and day out, produces for us. He’s come up with that big, clutch hit when the team’s needed it. He’s who I want up there at the plate.”
Aaron Boone offered similar sentiments, noting that Stanton is “getting his due because he deserves it.” The 31-year-old has excelled in the clutch this year, thus keeping the boo bird mostly off his back as even bigger games await.
“This is a guy that likes playing in the biggest moments and has broad shoulders and can handle whatever comes his way,” Boone said. “But I’m really happy for him that he’s delivering like this when it matters the most.”