The Braves star hits home run number 40 and steals base number 40 on the same night
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. cemented his place among MLB’s elite with a historic performance on Friday night against the Washington Nationals. Leading off the top of the first inning, Acuña launched a 116 mph laser over the left field wall for his 40th home run of the season, becoming just the fifth player in MLB history to join the exclusive 40-40 club.
But Acuña wasn’t done yet. In his next at-bat during the third inning, he singled to left field and promptly stole second base for his 40th stolen base of 2023. At just 25 years old, Acuña shattered decades-old records by becoming the first player since 2006 to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season.
“I’m extremely happy. Rounding the bases, I don’t know if I was more nervous or excited,” Acuña said after the game through team translator Franco Garcia. “It’s pretty incredible to think of how many players have played in the big leagues and my name’s alone. But I’m sure someone will break that record too.”
Acuña’s feat places him in such elite company as Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano as the only members of baseball’s exclusive 40-40 club. Amazingly, he still has eight more games left to potentially break Soriano’s record of 46 home runs in 2006. With 68 stolen bases already, Acuña is blazing a trail that may never be matched.
“He may be blazing trails that nobody will go to again,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker of Acuña’s incredible season. After missing over a year due to a devastating knee injury, Acuña has returned better than ever in 2023 and propelled the reigning World Series champion Braves to another 100-win season.
Tonight, Ronald Acuña Jr. took his place among the sports’ immortals. At just 25 years of age, he has plenty left in the tank to chase even loftier milestones. Braves country is beyond thrilled to watch this generational talent continue shattering records in an Atlanta uniform for many years to come.