Ever since Ronald Acuña Jr. finished the 2019 season just three steals shy of becoming the fifth member of the 40/40 club, it’s been a hot topic of discussion leading into each year. Unfortunately, COVID and injuries have robbed him of the opportunity.
In 2020, the season was shortened to just 60 games. Acuña may be the best offensive player in baseball, but 40/40 in 60 games is something I can confidently say will never happen. In 2021, he was on track, smacking 24 homers and swiping 17 bags in just 82 games, but a torn ACL cut his season short, which also affected his play in 2022.
2023 has been the first fully healthy season for Acuña since 2019, and he hasn’t disappointed. In his first at-bat last night against Patrick Corbin, Acuña launched his 40th homer of the season, officially etching his name into the record books forever.
HISTORY FOR RONALD ACUÑA JR.‼️
He's now the ONLY player with 40 home runs and 60 stolen bases in a single season 😱
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 22, 2023
Acuña joins Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco, Alfonso Soriano, and Barry Bonds as the only players in MLB history to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a season. However, Acuña is now the only player to ever hit 40 homers and swipe 60 bags, and he only needs two more steals to join the 40/70 club, which is a record that may never be approached again in our lifetime… unless Acuña wants to top his own marks in the future.
In a game that’s been around since the 1800s, there aren’t many times where we can talk about something that’s never been done before in the history of baseball. This is one of the most outstanding accomplishments I’ve seen in my lifetime in any sport. Acuña has 22 more stolen bases than any other player that also hit 40 home runs, and there’s still plenty of time left in the season for him to add to that total. Say what you want about the rule changes and bigger bases, there aren’t going to be players challenging the 40/70 mark anytime soon.
Acuña has put a bow on the NL MVP. There’s no longer any questions about it. Beyond the history he has made, he’s doing it all while hitting .337, leading the league in hits, runs, on-base percentage, and OPS. Ronald Acuña Jr. is finally healthy, and he’s blossomed into the best offensive player in the game.
What a moment for him, and what a moment for baseball.
Photo: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire