Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is playing in his fourth All-Star game, but this year’s game is a little different. He’s playing in front of his home crowd at Marlins Park and he’s heading in healthy, playing in almost every game during the first half of the season.
The 27-year-old Stanton is of Irish and African-American descent. His father is Mike Stanton and he has two siblings, brother Egidio and sister Karirice. Stanton’s mother is also of Puerto Rican heritage, so Stanton tried to play for Team Puerto Rico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Here’s a look at Stanton’s family.
1. Mike Stanton Is a Retired Postal Worker Who Inspired His Son’s Strong Work Ethic
Stanton’s father, Mike Stanton, played a key role in his son’s development into a professional athlete, helping his son practice for little league games in California. Stanton was born in Los Angeles County. He attended Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga and Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.
While at Notre Dame, he became a three-star athlete, but chose baseball as his focus before he committed to Tulane. Instead of going to college though, he signed with the Marlins after he was drafted in 2007.
“He’d throw buckets and buckets [of baseballs] to me, and he’d use it as his workout,” Stanton told Fox Sports. “He wouldn’t let me pick up the balls. So he’d pick up every ball, and he’d use it as his workout holding the heavy bucket, pick up the balls, switch arms or whatever. He’d have me sit there and think about where I want to hit the ball or what to do different in the next round.”
At the time, Stanton didn’t realize how much work his father was putting into his practice, but now he fully appreciates the sacrifices his father made. Mike took his son to a baseball clinic when he was just three years old.
However, Mike told Fox Sports that he believes his son is “self-made” and took it upon himself to become the best athlete he could be.
Mike is a retired U.S. Postal Service worker. Since retiring in 2009, he’s followed his son’s pro baseball career, traveling the country to see him play. In 2014, he went to 40 games and watches the others on television.
Mike was also in the crowd during the September 2014 game in Milwaukee, when Stanton was struck in the face by a pitch.
“He stayed with me,” Giancarlo told Fox Sports of his father. “It was like the old days. He would be there cooking when I got downstairs, was there whenever I needed. That was huge for me and him, too. I know he would’ve been in panic mode not knowing instead of being hands on.”
2. Stanton Tried to Play for Team Puerto Rico at the 2013 WBC Because His Great-Grandmother Was Puerto Rican
Stanton hoped to play for Team Puerto Rico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but he wasn’t allowed to because it was determined that he didn’t have a strong enough connection. As The Miami Herald reported at the time< Stanton's maternal great grandmother was of Puerto Rican descent.
"We were looking at it for awhile," Marlins outfield coach Joe Espada, who was an assistant for Team Puerto Rico in 2013, told the Herald. "I was working on that since last year. It had been a long investigation to see how close that relationship was leading into this tournament. He had a grandmother or great grandmother supposedly who had the connection. But it was way back, not close enough to be native."
Former Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez told the Sun Sentinel that Stanton’s family couldn’t find “concrete information” to prove the connection to Puerto Rico. However, Rodriguez said that even if this is the case, he still wouldn’t have been able to play for the team.
Stanton played on Team USA for the 2013 WBC and 2017 WBC. Team USA finally won its first WBC championship in 2017.
3. Stanton’s First Name Has Nothing to Do With Family – His Mom Just Liked It
Back in 2012, Stanton decided to change his name professionally. He rose through the minors as “Mike Stanton,” but wanted to be known by his real first name instead. He was born Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton.
But “Mike” isn’t the only first name he had. He told the Associated Press in 2012 that his father calls him Mike, his relatives call him Mikey and his mother calls him Cruz! He also earned the nickname “Bigfoot” in the minors, as he’s listed at 6-6.
Stanton also told the AP that Giancarlo isn’t a family name. His mother and father just liked it and he used it until the fifth grade. He realized that no one could pronounce it right, so he just decided to go by “Mike.”
“It was just easier,” he told the AP in 2012. “If you can’t pronounce that, then there’s something wrong with you.”
Stanton told the Palm Beach Post that his parents gave his siblings, Kairice and Egidio, unique names.
4. Stanton’s Dad Said His Son was Intentionally Walked at Age 11
You know your son is going to be something special when he’s only 11 years old and opposing coaches are so scared of him that they intentionally walk him. In 2013, Mike Stanton told the Miami Herald that the first time Stanton was intentionally walked, he was only 11.
“I got ticked off,” Mike told the Herald. “I’m not a showy person, or vocal. But I remember one time — the [coach] was intentionally walking him — and I think I called him a coward. I thought this is Little League. But this guy’s perception was, ‘Don’t pitch to him.’ ”
Mike said that the distance of his son’s home runs increased every year, beginning when he was 10. At 10 years old, he launched a home run 210 feet. At 11, he was hitting home runs at 250 feet. He told the Herald that he hit one home run so hard, it hit a telephone pole and bounced back into the infield!
Stanton was so dedicated to sports that he never had time to misbehave. The worst thing he ever did was carve his initials into a tree, his father told the Herald.
5. Stanton Isn’t Married & Doesn’t Have Any Children
Stanton is not currently married or dating.
In an interview with Ocean Drive in 2015, Stanton said he would like to have a family of his own someday. He explained:
You see some of the players with their families and kids in the clubhouse, and it’s really cool to watch their development. So, yeah, I definitely want a family. The future family, the future wife could be anywhere. You don’t necessarily go searching for it on all these match.coms and stuff, but she’ll come. I’m not worried about it.