SAN DIEGO — Remarkably, Marlins masher Giancarlo Stanton had participated in only one Home Run Derby before Monday night’s one-man exhibition in raw power. Injuries had forced him to bow out twice. And in that one appearance, in 2014, he hit only six homers.
But Stanton made up for lost time, turning one of the most cavernous ballparks in the big leagues into a cramped backyard. He blasted 61 homers total — shattering Bobby Abreu’s event record of 41 — en route to a Home Run Derby title that quickly seemed inevitable.
In the final round of a single-elimination tournament featuring eight sluggers, Stanton beat defending champion Todd Frazier, 20-13. With that, Stanton made official what has long been his unofficial title as the game’s premier power hitter.
Josh Hamilton’s captivating dominance at Yankee Stadium in 2008 may remain the gold standard, but in becoming the first Marlins player to win the Derby, Stanton turned in one of the event’s all-time great performances, perhaps one to rival Hamilton’s.
Stanton hit 24 homers in the first round, dwarfing the seven hit by opponent Robinson Cano, the 2011 champion. One of those blasts traveled 497 feet over the batter’s eye — the longest of the night.
In the semifinal, Stanton easily dispatched Mark Trumbo, 17-14. Trumbo managed to hit the large scoreboard in leftfield. In the first round, he also deposited two balls onto the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. building that towers over leftfield.
These were perhaps the only two swaths of Petco Park real estate that escaped Stanton’s wrath. And when he got tired of pelting the batter’s eye in centerfield, or the row of seats beneath the scoreboard in left, he twice left the ballpark altogether.
Stanton hit 5.1 miles worth of homers, according to Statcast. Of his 61 homers, 39 traveled more than 440 feet.