Bellinger sets NL rookie record with 39th HR

September 23rd, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- With a three-run shot in the third inning of Friday's 4-2 win over the Giants, Dodgers sensation launched his 39th homer of the season, setting the single-season mark for home runs by a National League rookie.

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And just like that, another accolade to add to the presumed 2017 NL Rookie of the Year.

Bellinger's record-setting home run was lost in the celebration of the Dodgers winning their fifth straight NL West title. As a child, Bellinger saw his father, Clay, celebrate three World Series championships with the Yankees.

On Friday, inside the Dodgers' clubhouse, it was his turn, as the 21-year-old was drowned in champagne and beer by his teammates, so much that he had to run away during interviews with reporters.

When the season started, Bellinger began in the Minors, hoping to be called up in September when the rosters expanded. Now he's an integral part of a Dodgers squad with aspirations of ending a 29-year championship drought. Amid a 9-11 start, the Dodgers called up Bellinger after an injury to first baseman ; since then the club is 57-21 when he's in the lineup.

Bellinger, who already owns the Dodgers' rookie home run record, broke a record that was held by Frank Robinson (1956) and Wally Berger (1930). The All-Star first baseman needs one more homer to become the third player in Major League history with 40 home runs in his age-21 season or younger. The only two players to accomplish that feat are Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews (47 homers in 1953) and Mel Ott (42 homers in 1929).

"It's been awesome," Bellinger said about his rookie season. "I'm just trying to enjoy it as much as I can, that's for sure."

His ascension has been well documented, becoming the fastest player to hit 21 homers and hitting for the cycle against the Marlins to become the first Dodgers rookie to accomplish the feat.

"He's gone through a couple of mini-slumps," said president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "But he's come out of it really quickly and the work ethic where he has questions helped him get through those a lot quicker."

Bellinger's next feat he would like to accomplish? Winning a championship.

"[My father] did this three or four times, so hopefully we can bring one here in L.A.," Bellinger said.