By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
I don’t know the journey the 2023 Braves will lead, but I now know the magnitude of their journey to this present moment.
They haven’t merely wrapped up the National League East. Their lineup is doing things baseball fans haven’t seen done in 50 years, 90 years, 100 years … or ever, for that matter, and that’s only now dawning on them.
There’s something funny about making history, you see. You don’t always recognize it when you’re in the middle of it, living and watching it, day in and day out.
There’s no perfect stat. There’s no perfect metric that reveals, unequivocally, the identity of the The Greatest Offense of All Time. So, if you’re even in the argument, alongside those ’27 Yankees, there’s no need to quibble about where to place the decimal points. We’re witnessing greatness, period.
Here’s an incredible difference between these Braves and those Yankees. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were twice as good at creating runs as the average hitter of that era, but they were part of a top-heavy lineup that didn’t have the depth of this Braves lineup, believe it or not the Braves are deeper and a higher utility team.
It doesn’t get much more old-school than home runs and stolen bases. And the triple digits in those categories are a reminder that the Braves can beat you one way on night one and a whole different way on night 2.
That 2019 Twins team that set the home run record the Braves are chasing, for most homers in a season (307). That team stole 28 bases all season. Ronald Acuna almost had that many himself by Memorial Day.
Even if they take their foot off the gas in the next few days, the Braves are almost a lock to lead the majors in homers by 50. No team has even done that in 55 years.
Only two teams in history that stole 100 bases even reached 250 homers the same season: the 2019 Brewers (250) and last year’s Yankees (254).
Hard to argue that this team isn’t special! The only two previous teams in history to bop 300 homers, the 2019 Twins and 2019 Yankees. They stole 83 bases combined. Acuña is on pace to steal 73 this year all by himself.
The Braves could have nine players with at least 20 homers! No team has ever done that.
The Braves could also have five players with at least 30 homers! Only the 2019 Twins have done that. And they just became the first team ever to have four men hit 35 or more.
They could lead the sport in slugging by 40 points! (They were at 43 through Sunday.) The only teams since 1900 to do that are the ’27 Yankees and 1953 Boys of Summer Dodgers.
I could spit out many more magic numbers for these Braves. But I’ve made my point. I never saw Ruth and Gehrig in 1927, but I’m watching Acuña and Olson here in 2023.
Now, there’s one more thing that needs to happen, one more thing they need to accomplish to make this season truly special, and historic.
The Braves just have to finish it. If October goes like the first six months of this season, they’ll be swirling around all these numbers for the rest of their lives.
If the Braves fail to win The World Series, they are just numbers that will be semi-forgotten.