Due to recent rule changes by Major League Baseball, there is a chance that the stolen base is going to again have a much bigger place in the game. In recent seasons, a lot of teams have scrapped taking chances on the bases in large part due to the explosion of power and home runs. There was a time in baseball history that the power and speed combination was a sought after commodity.
The power in the game isn't going anywhere and a renewed focus on the running game might bring the fabled 30-30 season back into focus. Looking back over the franchise history of the Atlanta Braves, there have been five instances where a Braves player finished a season with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. We are going to take a look at those seasons below.
Hank Aaron - 1963 (44 Home Runs, 31 Stolen Bases)
In terms of WAR, this was the second best season of Hank Aaron’s career as he put up 9.1 bWAR. He led the league in homers (44), runs scored (121), RBI (130), slugging percentage (.586), OPS (.977), OPS+ (179) and total bases (370). Those 31 stolen bases came in 36 attempts. Despite all of that, Aaron finished third in MVP voting in the National League behind the Dodgers Sandy Koufax and the Cardinals’ Dick Groat.
Dale Murphy - 1983 (36 Home Runs, 30 Stolen Bases)
Twenty years passed before another Braves player recorded a 30-30 season. This was the second of Dale Murphy’s back-to-back MVP seasons. He led the league in RBI (121), slugging percentage (.540) and OPS (.933). When people think of Murphy, they don’t often think about him as a base stealer, but he swiped 161 bags in his career. The 30 stolen bases in 1983 were a career-high, but Murph had seven seasons with double digit steals in his 18-year career.
Ron Gant - 1990 (32 Home Runs, 33 Stolen Bases) - 1991 (32 Home Runs, 34 Stolen Bases)
The Braves wouldn’t have to wait as long for another 30-30 season as Ron Gant turned the trick in back-to-back seasons. Gant had an interesting career with Atlanta initially coming up as an infielder before returning to the minors while shifting to the outfield. Let’s be honest, there wasn’t a lot of good reasons to watch the Braves in 1990, but Gant was one of them as he put up a career-best line of .303/.357/.539. He also played a big part in Atlanta’s worst-to-first season slotting into the middle of the order where he topped the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his career.
Ronald Acuña Jr. - 2019 (41 Home Runs, 37 Stolen Bases)
There would be another long wait for another 30-30 season, but Ronald Acuña Jr. nearly gave the Braves their first 40-40 season in his first full season in the majors in 2019. He likely would have gotten there had Atlanta not opted to rest him over the final week in an effort to have him at 100 percent heading into the postseason. Acuña’s 37 stolen bases in 2019 led the league and he also scored 127 runs. He picked up 29 stolen bases in 2022 while coming off of season-ending knee surgery. Entering his age-25 season, Acuña looks like a good bet to string together multiple 30-30 seasons.