Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant ties longstanding home run record
By Jake Misener
With his home run in the fifth inning Saturday, the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant tied a team record that had stood for over a half-century.
Any time you’re mentioned in the same breath as Sweet Swingin’ Billy Williams, you know you’re doing something right.
Just ask Bryant.
For the second time this season, the Chicago rookie pulled himself even with the Hall of Famer in the record books, hitting his 25th home run of the season – which tied Williams’ mark from 1961.
The shot followed a home run from Jorge Soler as the Cubs went back-to-back in what eventually became a 5-4 win over the rival St. Louis Cardinals, dropping Chicago’s magic number down to five in the process.
Bryant, who sat in Triple-A Iowa for the first few weeks of the season due to concerns over starting his service time clock, needs just one home run to eclipse Williams’ mark and is only seven runs batted in shy of 100.
Earlier this year, Bryant passed both Williams and former Cubs catcher Giovanny Soto when he drove in his 87th run of the season, surpassing both player’s previous mark of 86.
Per MLB.com, Chicago’s skipper, Joe Maddon, couldn’t say enough good things about the work his rookie stud has put in so far this season.
"“Since [Bryant] came out on the other side from the midseason when he had a little bit of a struggle, he’s been outstanding,” Maddon said. “How about his defense today, too? Great defense, wonderful hitting, one of the best baserunners in the National League already. Effort level can’t be any better than it is. He is the Rookie of the Year.”"
As for the reigning Minor League Baseball Player of the Year, who is now tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson for the league lead for home runs by a rookie, he’s still getting caught up in the praise and compliments he’s receiving – and for good reason.
"“[Maddon has] had my back the whole year, all the way back into Spring Training,” Bryant said. “He’s just an awesome guy to play for. I’ve learned so much, I’ve had a blast with him, and to hear that from him and to hear that he believes in me that much, it’s just a really cool thing.”"
Stay humble, Kris. Oh, and keep raking.