Miami Marlins All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton made history with his record-breaking contract extension last November. With it has come more media attention not just for him but the two-time World Series-winning franchise.
Stanton, who is quickly becoming one of Major League Baseball’s most prominent superstars, did it again in this week’s Sports Illustrated, becoming the magazine’s first body-painted cover subject.
The image shows the two-time All-Star staring straight into the camera while holding his bat with both muscular arms crossed over his chest. Not only was the white Miami Marlins jersey painted on him — complete with the detail of buttons — but so was his infamous orange sleeve.
The 25-year-old signed a 13-year, $325 million deal as the richest in North American sports history. Despite his 2014 season getting prematurely cut short when a pitch hit him in the face on Sept. 11, Stanton still led the National League in home runs (37) and slugging percentage (.555). At the time of the injury, he and Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw were considered by most baseball insiders as neck and neck for MVP honors.
This isn’t Stanton’s first cover. In 2013, Stanton appeared on one of the covers for ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue. On Tuesday, future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki even jokingly admitted that was how he knew his new teammate.
"It’s huge to be considered one of the faces of baseball," Stanton said on Tuesday when speaking to media before the club’s first full-squad workout. "It’s everything I’ve worked for. The long hours in the offseason and just preparing myself and all that. It’s big. It’s good and just keep playing hard."