Braun Passes Yount with 252nd Home Run
Powering the baseball into the opposite field as he is apt to do, Ryan Braun passed Robin Yount and is now the Brewers’ all-time home run leader with 252. Braun needed 6,300 fewer at-bats than Yount did, and is definitely the more established power hitter of the two as Yount, who never hit 30 home runs in a season, was an all-around hitter that played for 20 seasons.
Braun came into the league in 2007 and hit 34 home runs as a rookie and winning the rookie of the year award. Braun immediately set himself up as a great offensive player with his ability to hit for average and power, but his defensive shortcomings proved a liability at third base. He continued his torrid pace at the plate after switching to left field in his second season, hitting 37 home runs even though his batting average fell nearly 40 points from .324 to .285. His average rebounded nicely the next year and his power numbers remained through the 2012 season.
In 2013 Braun’s career took a sudden turn when he was busted for taking performance enhancing drugs. The season prior to being busted, Braun hit 41 home runs, while the season after returning from suspension produced just 19 home runs. Braun’s batting average also dipped from .319 to .266, a marked difference from career norm prior to the suspension.
Yount is remembered fondly and is still well-respected by the Milwaukee community, so Braun passing him as the career home runs leader has hardly been met with much hoopla. It’s a similar feeling to when Barry Bonds passed Hank Aaron as the home run leader of Major League Baseball. Bonds was a known steroid user and the idea of him passing someone like Aaron, who consistently hit home runs throughout his 23 years but only led the league for home runs in a single season four times, was not taken to kindly. Yount stood for playing hard and consistent for two decades and negative stories of him are difficult to come by, Braun is very much the opposite.
Still, Braun has played every game of his career thus far in Milwaukee, and though he may never be the perennial MVP that he was early in his career he should still be respected by our great city. Did he handle the situation perfectly? Would you have really done better? His numbers have regressed to pedestrian status but he goes out there every day and still does his job. Respect is something he has quietly earned back by going to work every day and doing his job.
In all likelihood, Braun will be the home run leader for the Milwaukee Brewers for decades to come and we should all get used to that idea. Braun is a better home run hitter than Yount was, he deserves to be at the top of that list.
Don’t take that away from him.
Yount was the better man, but the better man rarely finishes on top.