GPB's Peter Biello reports on Ronald Acuña, Jr.'s 40/70 season.

Ronald Acuña Jr. makes contact during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Truist Park in Atlanta, Sept. 20, 2023.

Ronald Acuña Jr. makes contact during a game Sept. 20, 2023. On Sept. 27, he made history by becoming the first player to steal 70 bases and hit 40 home runs in a single season.

Credit: Peter Biello / GPB News

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. stole his 69th and 70th bases of the season Wednesday night, marking the first time in Major League Baseball history a player has reached 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases in a single season. 

“It was one of those numbers that wasn’t impossible but seemed impossible,” Acuña said. “Thankfully we were able to get it done.”

Baseball statisticians typically consider 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases an extraordinary feat. It’s only been done five times in history, including Acuña this season, and the closest any of the other four players came to Acuña’s stolen base mark is Alex Rodriguez, who stole 46 bases in his 40/40 season in 1998. 

With his sons on his lap, Acuña smiled at reporters in the Braves press conference room.

“I just want to thank God for this incredible moment,” Acuña said. 

The founding of the 40/70 club is yet another achievement in an outstanding season. Acuña currently leads the majors in hits, runs scored, and on-base percentage. He’s second in batting average. And all season he’s been the rally-starting lead-off hitter in a lineup that collectively boasts the best batting average of any team in the MLB. 

He’s also a leading contender for National League MVP. 

“He might be the only human who can break his own records, too,” Braves Manager Brian Snitker said. 

Acuña’s milestone came as the Braves were battling the Cubs in extra innings. In the 10th inning, with the Braves trailing by one, Acuña knocked in the tying run, stole his 70th base, and then scored the winning run on Ozzie Albies’ walk-off single. 

“The base hit to tie the game was a nasty, nasty pitch that he hit,” Snitker said. "And to get that bag and score the winning run? You can’t take it farther than that. That’s as good as it gets."

With Wednesday’s win, the Braves have clinched home-field advantage through the National League Championship Series. The magic number to nail down home-field advantage through the World Series is now down to one, over the Baltimore Orioles. The Division series starts Oct. 7.