Written by: Jacob Bradshaw
October is baseball’s month of destiny – a month of broken curses and continued droughts, when role-players can become heroes and generations of pain are washed away with feelings of euphoria at a single crack of the bat. October has given us the pure magic of the 2004 Red Sox, the 2016 Cubs and, now, the story of the 2021 Atlanta Braves.
At the All-Star Break, the Braves were given by statistics experts just a 0.3% chance of winning the Fall Classic. These extremely low odds, combined with Atlanta’s failure to win a World Series since 1995, did little to inspire hope for any October magic for the Braves.
Yet, in a way, this year had to belong to the Braves. Atlanta Braves legend and civil rights talisman Hank Aaron passed away in January of this year, just two months before the start of the Braves 2021 campaign. This entire year, his iconic number “44” has been cut into the outfield grass of Truist Park, the Braves’ home field, as a reminder of the lasting impact he has had on both the city of Atlanta and the game of baseball.
Even posthumously, Aaron’s fingerprints were all over this World Series. It was Aaron who mentored Dusty Baker, the manager of the World Series losing Astros, when he debuted as a 19-year-old player for the Braves against, you guessed it, the Houston Astros.
Freddie Freeman, who has spent all 12 seasons of his career with the Braves, now has his first championship title. Jorge Soler becomes only the second Cuban in history to be named MVP of the World Series. Joc Pederson is now the ninth player in MLB history to win the World Series in back-to-back years with two different teams. And born-and-raised Braves fan from north Atlanta Dansby Swanson joins a very short list of players to have won a College World Series and repeat that success at the professional level.
The Braves’ dominant 7-0 win in game six of the World Series ends this season on a massive high for the city of Atlanta as they can finally celebrate their first major sporting championship in over two decades. The losing Astros will have the chance to bang out a new strategy in the five-month off-season, while the Braves can celebrate having once again tomahawk-chopped their way into baseball’s October lore.