Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. accomplished something no one else in Major League Baseball history has done before, becoming the first player ever to hit 40 home runs and steal 70 bases in a single season.
“I’d be lying to you if I said that I would accomplish that,” Acuña said via a translator after the game. “It was one of those numbers that wasn’t impossible but seemed impossible so, thankfully, we were able to get it done.”
Acuña, who entered Wednesday night with 68 stolen bases on the season, stole his first base of the night in the eighth inning with the Braves trailing 3-2 against the Chicago Cubs, later scoring to tie the game 3-3.
His second stolen base came in the bottom of the 10th inning; after hitting a game-tying RBI single to make it 5-5, Acuña swiped second to reach the historic mark. The game was momentarily paused as the team and crowd at Truist Park in Atlanta cheered on while the 25-year-old lifted the base above his head.
Acuña’s 70th stolen base of the season proved to be timely, as he would score the game-winning run after second baseman Ozzie Albies drove him in with a single for the 6-5 walk-off victory.
Last week, Acuña became the fifth member of the exclusive 40-40 club after hitting his 40th home run of the season.
With over 60 stolen bases on the season, he also became the first member of the 40-50 and 40-60 club. Prior to this season, no other player had stolen more than 46 bases in the same season in which they hit at least 40 home runs.
The 2018 National League Rookie of the Year and four-time All-Star is making a strong case to claim his first Most Valuable Player award this year. Acuña is sporting a .336 batting average and 104 RBIs to go along with his impressive 41 home runs and 70 stolen bases.
With the victory, the Braves improve to a major league best 102-56 record and have clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the National League postseason.