Former Cubs teammates Patrick Wisdom and Kris Bryant stood together chatting this past weekend at Wrigley Field, when Bryant returned for the first time with the Giants.
“He said, ‘When you break my record, congrats on everything,’ so that was pretty cool,” Wisdom said.
Congratulations were in order Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
“I was hoping I could do it when he was there,” said Wisdom, whose fifth-inning home run in Tuesday’s win over the Phillies tied Bryant’s single-season Cubs rookie record (26).
"He's having a great season and I'm just happy to be alongside him too with that record."
It’s a record that stood for nearly six seasons. Bryant’s 26 home runs in his 2015 NL Rookie of the Year campaign broke Billy Williams’ previous record (25) set back in 1961.
Wisdom had a different path to this point than Bryant and Williams. He was almost 30 and had 43 games of big-league experience entering the 2021 season.
He said didn’t imagine reaching the record when the Cubs called him up from Triple-A in May.
“Honestly, no,” he said. “When I got called up, I just kind of took it day to day, and I'm still doing the same thing. I think the record is just a testament to taking it day to day.”
Wisdom burst onto the scene after the Cubs called him up. He hit nine home runs in his first 20 games, later taking over as the everyday third baseman after the Cubs traded Bryant to San Francisco in July.
Wisdom closed in on Bryant’s record at the end of August with back-to-back two-home run games against the White Sox. But he went 5-for-45 with 22 strikeouts over the next 13 games, entering Tuesday, acknowledging the pressure of the record Tuesday night.
“There’s been a little bit of quote-unquote pressure that I would say outside sources are kind of are put in front of you,” Wisdom said. “Whether you take it or not, I think that's kind of up to us and how we take in those thoughts and everything like that.”
Wisdom finished Tuesday's game 2-for-4, adding a double in the eighth inning. It's his first multi-hit game since Aug. 28 — the second of those multi-home run games against the White Sox.
He's hitting .240/.305/.540 in 96 games this season. His 26 home runs lead National League rookies (third overall).
"Really proud of how he's worked and kept his cool through the ups and downs," Cubs manager David Ross said. "He’s put together a really nice season and 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."
Record or no record, Wisdom says he's the same guy. He credits his wife for helping him remain level-headed through the ups and downs.
"I hope to be the same guy even if I don't hit homers and go 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, as I am on a night like [Tuesday]," he said. "It’s something that you’ve constantly got to work on and constantly got to be a good teammate.
"People remember how you made them feel, not necessarily what you did."