Braun makes history with fourth 20/20 season
Brewers slugger 31st Major Leaguer to achieve feat
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun made some history, and helped the Brewers win a ballgame in the process.
Braun became the 31st player in Major League history to post at least four seasons of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases when he swiped second in the fifth inning of Thursday night's 5-3 win over the Pirates. It put him in scoring position for Khris Davis' go-ahead double, and the Brewers held that lead to finish their second three-game sweep of the postseason-bound Pirates since the All-Star break.
"I've been incredibly unlucky all year. With any luck, I'd be a lot closer to 30/30," Braun said. "But I just keep going. The stolen bases that come in one-run games, in big situations, feel like they're more meaningful during the course of the game. But like I've said many times, I try not to reflect on any statistical accomplishments during the year unless I have to."
Braun also posted 20/20 seasons in '09 (32 home runs/20 stolen bases), '11 (33/33) and '12 (41/30). He's one of three players to put together multiple 20/20 seasons for the Brewers, with Carlos Gomez ('13 and '14) and Corey Hart ('07 and '08).
Marquis Grissom, Jeromy Burnitz, Robin Yount and Tommy Harper had one 20/20 season apiece for the Brewers.
"I think Ryan's baserunning this year has been really, really good," manager Craig Counsell said. "He's learned to be a student on the bases and how to pick spots. He's picked up little things that can help him get a base here and there."
Besides studying pitchers' moves to the plate, Braun said, "You try to pick counts in which they're obviously not going to pitch out or throw fastballs away, because those are the two easiest pitches to get thrown out on. I think my success rate on stolen bases has always been decent. If it wasn't, I would stop running. I think if you don't steal at least a 70 percent success rate, it's not worth taking a chance."
Braun's success rate in his career is 78.5 percent, sixth best in franchise history for players with more than 25 stolen bases for the Brewers. Scott Podsednik is the most efficient basestealer in club history, at, 83.1 percent.
Bobby and Barry Bonds share the Major League record for most 20/20 seasons in Major League history, with 10 apiece. Among players with Brewers ties, Hank Aaron has the most with six, though his running days were long over by the time he returned to Milwaukee to finish his career with the Brewers in 1975-76.
Among active players, the Nationals' Ian Desmond (17 home runs, 12 stolen bases) and the Mets' Curtis Granderson (23 homers, 11 stolen bases) have the best chance to join Braun with a fourth 20/20 effort this season.