Cubs News

Kris Bryant had a message for Patrick Wisdom in pursuit of Cubs rookie record

3 years agoTony Andracki

Kris Bryant made his triumphant return to Wrigley Field last weekend but that wasn’t the only thing on his mind.

As the former MVP reached third base and got a chance to chat with the Cubs’ Patrick Wisdom, he had a message for his former teammate.

Wisdom entered the series with the Giants 1 homer shy of Bryant’s rookie home run record (26). He tied that mark Tuesday night with a 5th-inning blast in Philadelphia.

“I knew I was close and then when we played the Giants, I thought it would’ve been pretty cool to tie it with KB there,” Wisdom said. “When he got to third, we were just chit-chatting and he said, ‘when you break my record, congrats on everything.’ So that was pretty cool.

“I was hoping I could do it when he was there but hey, he’s having a great season and I’m just happy to be alongside him too with that record.”

Wisdom had been stuck on 25 longballs since Aug. 28, when he collected a 2-homer game against the White Sox on the South Side for the second straight evening.

Tuesday marked Wisdom’s 96th game with the Cubs this season and he didn’t make his 2021 debut until May 25.

Bryant hit 26 homers in 151 games in 2015, ultimately taking home the National League Rookie of the Year honors.

The record is just another emphatic chapter in the storybook season for the 30-year-old Wisdom. He admitted Bryant’s mark was not even on his radar as he was first called up from Triple-A Iowa in late May.

There has been some pressure along the way and Wisdom acknowledged the record was on his mind. In the 13 games (12 starts) since his multi-homer effort at Guaranteed Rate, Wisdom hit .111 with 22 strikeouts and 4 doubles.

But he rebounded from that slump Tuesday night, giving his team the lead in a 6-3 victory.

“The thing that stands out to me with Wiz is the ups and downs of a normal season that he’s gone through,” David Ross said. “It’s just part of his game. When he’s not locked in, you’re gonna see some swing-and-miss. That comes with the power. You trade off a lot of that power for some swing-and-miss.

“Watching on TV while I was in quarantine and then getting back and seeing it firsthand, you felt like he needed a day. We’ve been pushing him hard. We’ve had some off-days. I gave him a day that last game against San Francisco, he pinch-hits, gets kind of a fluky knock and something like that can get you going.

“I’m really proud of how he’s worked, though, and kept his cool through the ups and downs. He’s put together a really nice season. Just tied KB for the rookie record of home runs. That’s pretty good company for a guy that wasn’t even on the radar to start the season.”

Wisdom now has 26 homers and 52 RBI this year to go along with a .240/.305/.540 slash line (845 OPS).

Through it all during this life-changing season, Wisdom wants to remain true to himself.

“I don’t think I’ve changed and I hope I haven’t changed,” he said. “I don’t want to feed the ego. My wife does a good job of keeping me at bay and supporting me. I give a lot of credit to her. Throughout this journey, it’s been ups and downs but she’s been kind of the level head and everything.

“I just take it day-to-day. I’m the same guy in the clubhouse and I hope to be the same guy if I don’t hit homers and go 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts as I am on a night like tonight. It’s something that I constantly gotta work on and constantly gotta be a good teammate. People remember how you made them feel, not necessarily what you did.”

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