Fifty years ago tonight Henry Aaron hit his 700th career home run. For the 39 year old Mr. Aaron, that was his 27th of the season, on his way to 40 for the year. He would finish the season with 713. I wasn’t at the game, but I remember listening on the radio. As per usual for that team, they lost the game. The 1973 team was the first in history to have 3 players with 40 or more home runs, and they led the league in runs scored and in home runs. Still, they finished 22.5 games out of first place.

Thirty years ago tonight my wife, kids, and I were in attendance at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, to watch the Braves clobber the Reds 14-2. Newly acquired (and brand new Hall of Famer) Fred McGriff hit two home runs. The night before was the famous press box fire game, the first game in which Crime Dog appeared for the Braves. He homered in that game as well to lead a stirring comeback victory. From that point forward the Braves went 51-17, erasing a ten game deficit to the Giants and winning the pennant by 1 game.

Twenty years ago tonight the Braves were cruising toward their 12th consecutive division title as they met the Cubs. Ought-to-be Hall of Famer Andruw Jones was one of three Braves to leave the yard (along with Lopez and Giles). I have no memory of this game, but I may have been watching. The loss didn’t mean much, as the Braves had a 9.5 game lead, on their way to 101 wins and winning the pennant by 10 games.

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Tonight, the Braves defeated the Brewers 6-4. The Brewers jumped on Michael Soroka for two runs in the first. But the Braves took the lead in the second, behind a two run homer by ex-Brewer Orlando Arcia. Possible future Hall of Famer (if he keeps this up) Austin Riley smashed a two run homer in the third to push the lead to 5-2. This was Austin’s fifth homer in the last four games. In the sixth, Riley singled, Matt Olson (who won’t likely end up in the Hall of Fame, but is on pace to hit more home runs in a season than Aaron, McGriff, or Andruw ever did) doubled, and Riley ultimately scored on a groundout to stretch the lead to 6-2.

Could-possibly-have-been-had-the injury-gods-not struck-him Hall of Famer Michael Soroka turned in the kind of start we’ve typically seen from him this year. He surrendered two doubles, a single, and two runs after facing the first four batters in the first, but then blanked the Brewers on one hit through five. He was starting to look like 2019 Soroka. But in the sixth he surrendered a hit to Contreras and a two run homer to Adames to make it 6-4. Michael continues to show flashes of the form he had before he first injured his Achilles tendon three years ago, but he also struggles with his command. Still, I’m quite encouraged. He’s getting closer and closer to becoming the guy we remember. At the least, he’s shown he can be an innings eater who keeps you in the game.

The bullpen is missing several crucial parts due to injury, but more often than not they continue to get the job done. Tonight Ben Heller, Joe Jimenez, and Kirby Yates each turned in a scoreless inning to close this one out. Heller has been a revelation. Did you realize that Jimenez has a 1.13 ERA since the end of May? Kali II closed in place of Iggy. Yates struck out the first two, but then lost the ability to throw strikes, and walked the next two. With the winning run at the plate, Yates struck out Blake Perkins in a 12 pitch at bat. He finally caught him looking on a slider—a pitch I don’t think I’ve ever seen him throw.

This was a great win and pushed the division lead to a season high 11.5 games. It’s also cool to win one when sure-thing-if-he-stays-healthy Hall of Famer Ronald Acuna Jr. went 0-5.

Perhaps the best news tonight was that Max Fried tossed 46 strikes in 65 pitches, and didn’t walk anyone, in his third rehab start. He may make his return next week; in any case, he’s getting close.

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I’m about to finish my sixth decade of baseball fandom. As I watch and talk about games with my grandchildren, I remember going to games with my own grandfather sixty years ago. Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us continue to run the race with perseverance. And let’s beat the Brewers Saturday night. Twenty-seven year old Alan Winans makes his big league debut for the Braves. What a story! Baseball is the best!