Ronald Acuña Jr. is officially in a club of one, and he entered in grand fashion.
The Atlanta Braves star hit his 30th home run of the season Thursday in a clash with the Los Angeles Dodgers, making him the first player in MLB history to hit 30 homers and steal 60 bases in a single season.
Of course, Acuña didn't just homer to create the 30-60 club. He hit a grand slam in a highly anticipated meeting between the top two teams in the National League.
RONALD'S 30TH HOME RUN OF THE SEASON IS A GRAND SLAM. pic.twitter.com/Cwun8fwyil
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) September 1, 2023
That slam loomed large in an 8-7 Braves win, with Acuña going 3-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base.
Before this season, the only people to join the 30-50 club were Barry Bonds, who hit 33 homers and stole 52 bases in 1990, and Eric Davis, who had 37 homers and 50 steals in 1987. Three players had a 20-homer, 60-steal season: Rickey Henderson (who did it three times, naturally), Joe Morgan (twice) and Davis.
It has been that kind of season for Acuña and the Braves, who entered Thursday with the best record in MLB at 87-45. Acuña has been an MVP front-runner all season but has faced a recent charge from a pair of Dodgers, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
Making history like that against the Dodgers can only help Acuña's case. That said, Betts made his own case in the same game by hitting two homers.
Acuña did more than break history Thursday. Earlier in the day, he got married to his girlfriend of four years, Maria Laborde, in a ceremony that was set up in the span of 24 hours. The couple had planned to get married in the offseason in their native Venezuela, but under the terms of Maria's visa, she was required to return to her home country by the end of this week and couldn't return for three months. That would mean Acuña would be without his partner and their two children (two-year-old Ronald Daniel and 11-month-old Jamall) for the stretch run.
The solution to that problem was to move the ceremony up from the offseason to Thursday, so the two could be married and stay in the country with their kids (who were both born in America).
Ronald Acuña Jr. planned to get married in the offseason. But his fiancée’s visa was set to expire, keeping her and the kids away for 3 months. He wanted them here for the stretch run. An LA wedding was arranged in 24 hours.
Then Acuña made history. https://t.co/lYJFVCzUez pic.twitter.com/ByQZrtnwuN
— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) September 1, 2023
Braves gunning for MLB home run record
The Braves broke their single-season franchise homer record Wednesday, when they hit three against the Colorado Rockies to push their 2023 total to 250. With 30 games left to play, the Braves needed 57 long balls to challenge the 2019 Minnesota Twins for the most in MLB history.
Acuña has obviously been a big piece of that charge, as have four of this teammates. Matt Olson (43), Marcell Ozuna (31), Austin Riley (31) and Ozzie Albies (28) are all in MLB's top 15 in homers this season.
Acuña's production on the basepaths also comes in a season when stolen bases are up to a historic degree, thanks to MLB rule changes limiting pickoff attempts and increasing the size of the bases.
That doesn't mean the 2023 Atlanta Braves aren't worth your time, though. The team has done a masterful job of assembling one of the deepest rosters in baseball over the past several years and is now reaping the benefits.