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Giancarlo Stanton is 1 homer away from 60 with 3 games left

Friday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at Giancarlo Stanton’s dingers, catcher concussions, and the updated postseason race.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images

Giancarlo Stanton mashed homers number 58 and 59 on Thursday, leaving him one shy of a threshold that only a handful of players have ever reached in the history of Major League Baseball. Stanton's next homer would make him just the sixth different player to ever go deep at least 60 times in a season, and would be just the ninth such season in history, as well.

Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001. Mark McGwire hit 70 in 1998. Sammy Sosa reached 66 dingers that same summer, and McGwire made it to 65 the following year. Sosa also crushed 63 long balls in 1999 and another 64 in 2001, while Roger Maris went deep 61 times back in 1961 to break Babe Ruth's then-longstanding record of 60, set in 1927. Stanton, with three games left, has a chance to homer his way into the middle-third of that group, but even if he just goes deep one more time, he'll get that shiny round number that history remembers.

Stanton's season will still be plenty memorable even if he goes sans homer the rest of 2017; however: Ruth's 1921, in which he hit 59 homers, is the only 59-homer season besides Stanton's current one. So as is, Stanton is already having one of the top-10 seasons ever for dingers, with Thursday's two-homer night moving him into a tie with and then ahead of Ryan Howard's 2006, McGwire's 1997, Hank Greenberg's 1938, and Jimmie Foxx's 1932: All four stopped at 58 homers.

You might think less of Stanton's push because of the supposed changes to the baseball that's causing all these extra taters, but think about it for a second: There is some kind of asterisk attached to basically every major performance you can think of.

Babe Ruth and his peers played with the original live ball and in a smaller league without nearly the level of competition. Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa played in an era of steroids, sure, but also smaller ballparks, multiple expansion efforts, and, you guessed it, a changed baseball. Maris got to chase 60 homers while playing in a longer season than Ruth did: There's always something.

Pitchers have also received benefits like this over the years, and things eventually even out and are replaced with a new issue: MLB lowered the mound in 1969 after Carl Yastrzemski won a batting title with a .301 average the year before, for instance. And let's not pretend hitters were the only ones using PEDs back in the day, either.

None of these numbers or seasons is necessarily tainted: The playing field is always changing, and there is always something to consider, and remembering who outperformed their peers is the constant that applies to every era. Stanton, right now, is the only one with a shot at 60 homers: Even with the changed baseball, even with hitters gunning to go yard, Stanton is the only one here. And that's worth remembering.