A wedding day is a memorable day in its own right. But in typical Ronald Acuna Jr. fashion, he had to make his even more exceptional.
The Braves star was married Thursday morning in California, and in the evening, he launched a grand slam against the Dodgers to become the first player in MLB history to tally 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in the same season.
“If they said anybody would do it, I knew it’d be Ronnie,” Braves teammate Michael Harris told MLB.com. “It’s kind of crazy that he got married and became the first player in history to do that on the same day. It’s a pretty big day for him.”
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Acuna began the day by marrying his fiancee, Maria Laborde, whom he has known for four years. The two were reportedly engaged in January and were set to get married in Venezuela in the offseason, but expedited the wedding to make sure Laborde and their children could remain in the United States for a Braves playoff run.
It was fitting that Acuna’s 30th home run came not just on a memorable day for him, but also against the two players who are his closest competition for the NL MVP. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts made his mark by launching a pair of home runs in the game, while first baseman Freddie Freeman reached three times on two walks and a hit. Betts, Acuna and Freeman are first, second and fourth among National League players in Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement (bWAR), respectively.
Ronald Acuna Jr.’s 30/60 season
There was just something about the way Acuna began the 2023 campaign that foretold of a big season from the Braves superstar. When Patrick Corbin attempted a second pickoff attempt, reaching his limit of unsuccessful attempts under the new rules, everyone at Nationals Stadium knew Acuna was going to steal second the first chance he got. Sure enough, after a stumble on his first try, he swiped second easily on his second.
Ronald Acuña Jr. realizes Patrick Corbin has already thrown over twice and he gets really excited about it! ????
Easy steal on the next pitch though and Ronald is gonna steal a ton of bags this season if he stays healthy. pic.twitter.com/gsUZPW01aw
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) March 30, 2023
On Thursday night, Acuna made the history many have expected since that Opening Day swipe finally happened, with Acuna launching a grand slam for his 30th home run, becoming the first player in baseball to post a season with at least 30 home runs and at least 60 stolen bases.
There have been others who have come close to the two round number totals. Rickey Henderson hit 28 home runs and stole 87 bases in 1986, and hit 28 home runs with 65 steals in 1990. Eric Davis (1986), Joe Morgan (1973 and 1976) and Henderson again (1985) are the only other players to hit at least 20 home runs with at least 60 stolen bases, per Stathead.
Others have met the home run criteria, but not reached the steals. In 1990, Barry Bonds swiped 52 bases and hit 33 home runs. Davis stole 50 in a 1987 campaign in which he also launched 37 homers. But no one else has hit at least 30 homers and stolen at least 50 bases in the same year, according to Stathead.
Ronald Acuna Jr. married
The day might have ended with baseball history, but it started with a momentous occasion in Acuna’s life. The morning of the game against Los Angeles, Acuna was driven up to Agoura Hills, Calif., bright and early and married Laborde at Whispering Oaks, according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.
Due to Laborde’s Venezuelan visa, Laborde and their two children were going to have to leave the U.S. by the end of the week and would have had to be out of the country until after the MLB playoffs. Per Gonzalez, the marriage helped to make sure Laborde and their children, Ronald Daniel and Jamall, would be able to stay in the United States.
“It means a lot to me,” Acuna told Gonzalez. “The kids were born here, but the mom needs to come and go. I don’t like that process. It’s really a hassle. If we go to the playoffs, if we go to the World Series, and they’re not with me, it’s tough. I want my family to be here with me.”
To get married on Thursday required some last-minute planning and an early start to the day. Acuna’s manager, Nick Drbal, was asked on Wednesday to help the star outfielder expedite a wedding that had once been planned to take place in Venezuela over the winter happen much sooner. Drbal booked Whispering Oaks, found an officiant and planned the ceremony.
Acuna’s fiancee and children flew to Los Angeles on Wednesday, and Acuna left the team hotel at 7 a.m. and made the drive 35 miles north to Agoura Hills for the wedding.
MORE: What happened to Acuna during fan incident at Coors Field
Who is Maria Laborde?
Laborde, Acuna’s now-wife, is an Instagram model with over 104,000 followers. A native of Carabobo, Venezuela, Laborde won Miss Teen Carabobo in 2015.
She is also not the only notable social media influencer in the family. Her sister, Nerea Laborde, is well known on TikTok, with nearly 100,000 followers on the platform.
According to ESPN, Laborde and Acuna have known each other for about four years and have two children together. Acuna proposed to her in January.
MLB home run leaders 2023
Acuna’s 30th homer of the season moved him past Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers and into 12th place among MLB leaders. No one has more than AL MVP frontrunner Shohei Ohtani, who has blasted 44 home runs in 2023.
Acuna’s teammate, Matt Olson, leads the National League with 43. The Braves are the only team to feature four players with at least 30 home runs, with Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna joining Olson and Acuna.
|Luis Robert||White Sox||35|
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||Braves||30|
MLB stolen base leaders 2023
Acuna might not be the fastest player in baseball, but he is by far the league’s most prolific base-stealer. Though he leads the league having been caught 11 times, he also paces the majors with 62 stolen bases.
Athletics outfielder Esteury Ruiz (53) and Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (41) are the only other players with more than 40. For comparison, Ruiz has two home runs this year and Carroll has 23.
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||Braves||62|
|Bobby Witt Jr.||Royals||38|