When the Atlanta Braves acquired Matt Olson in a trade in 2022 and signed him to an eight-year, $168 million deal right away, Andruw Jones had a vision that Olson’s season home run record wouldn’t stand for long.
“I thought Matt would be the guy to break the record,” Jones said last weekend in Atlanta when his number was retired. “He’s just got that swing. I’m pulling for him, and hopefully he can break it.”
Olson will be the only player in Atlanta’s record book with one more long ball this season.
On Wednesday, when the Braves play the Philadelphia Phillies in an attempt to claim their sixth consecutive NL East title with a win, Olson may break the franchise record of 52 if he goes deep. A playoff spot is already secured for Atlanta.
He ties Jones, 51, for at least one night. Tuesday’s 7-6 victory over the Phillies by Atlanta required 10 innings, and Olson’s solo homer tied the record established by Jones in 2005.
How about “way to go @mattolson21 proud of you keep it going 60?” Jones posted on X, the social networking website that replaced Twitter.
Olson grew up in the Atlanta region and has always supported Jones and the Braves.
“It’s a cool feeling,” Olson said. “I watched him growing up and know the kind of player he was. It’s cool to be mentioned with him.”
In the fourth inning, Olson drove the first ball he saw from starter Zack Wheeler into the seats in left-field. The spectator who had the ball returned it to play. Olson broke a tie with the Cincinnati Reds for his most against any team this season with his sixth home run against the Phillies. Olson has played 18 games at Citizens Bank Park and hit 11 home runs there.
Olson described Wheeler as “a tough at-bat.” So it’s beneficial to be able to take one from him.
The milestone 50th home run had to be rescued from a fan after Olson hit two home runs the previous night against the Phillies.
Olson had 128 RBIs this year, making him the sixth player in the history of the organisation with at least 80 extra-base hits. Prior to this season, he had never hit more than 39 home runs.
It’s amazing that Jones and Olson are the only Braves to hit 50 home runs in a season in a team that had Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy, and a host of other great sluggers.
Olson, who also has a 10-game hitting streak, was on pace to smash 56 home runs and drive in 143 runs when the game began. He is the first left-handed batter in the National League to hit 50 home runs since Prince Fielder did so in 2007 and one of just 15 players to do so since 2000.
In his 12 games this month, Olson has hit eight home homers.
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