CHICAGO -- Kristopher Bryant stepped to the plate for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, realizing he had hit 99 home runs over the course of his career.But it wasn't until after Bryant returned to the dugout after hitting No. 100 and his accomplishment appeared on the video board in
CHICAGO -- Kristopher Bryant stepped to the plate for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, realizing he had hit 99 home runs over the course of his career.
But it wasn't until after Bryant returned to the dugout after hitting No. 100 and his accomplishment appeared on the video board in left field that it actually sunk in.
Bryant connected on the milestone homer in the first inning of the Cubs' 13-4, series-sweeping win at Wrigley Field by launching a Wei-Yin Chen offering into the left-field bleachers. The home run was Bryant's sixth of the season and the third baseman -- who started in right field Wednesday in place of the injured Jason Heyward -- became the 22nd player in franchise history to reach the century mark.
Bryant became the fastest player in Cubs history to reach the 100-home run mark, needing just 487 games to do so. Ernie Banks, who hit his 100th home run in 1957, did so in his 500th game, while fellow Hall of Famer Billy Williams connected on his 100th homer in '64 in his 611th game of his career.
Bryant's milestone homer came on the third anniversary of his first Major League big fly, which he hit on May 9, 2015, against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Bryant wasn't aware of the timeliness of his home run Wednesday until he was taken out of the game after six innings, with the Cubs leading, 12-1.
"You couldn't script it any better -- first home run three years ago and 100 [on Wednesday]," Bryant said. "I guess it made it even more special. It's pretty cool. I know it took me a while to [get the] first one, but it's a pretty cool story."
"He's a special player," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
Added manager Joe Maddon: "The sky is the limit [for Bryant]. The guy is dedicated, motivated, athletic, he's good, he takes care of himself, [plays] multiple positions, MVP winner. He does not care where you put him in the lineup, whether it's offensively or defensively. He's kind of the manager's dream."
Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.