Kris Bryant has had quite a bit of 2016 nostalgia in 2023. Bryant, who led the Chicago Cubs to their drought-breaking World Series victory during the '16 campaign, faced his old Cubs teammate Anthony Rizzo (now with the New York Yankees) earlier this season. On Friday, Bryant, who is now with the Colorado Rockies, returned to Wrigley Field for the first time as a Rockie. The former MVP received a loud ovation from the Cubs faithful in his first at-bat.
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— MLB (@MLB) September 22, 2023
Kris Bryant's Cubs legacy
Cubs fans certainly have not forgotten what Bryant meant to the organization.
He was a highly-regarded prospect before winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 2015. Chicago reached the playoffs during the '15 campaign, but lost during the postseason. As a result, they would have to wait at least one more year to potentially win their first World Series since 1908.
With a core of players that included Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and other stars, the Cubs felt confident heading into 2016. Bryant took another step forward in 2016, winning the NL MVP after smashing 39 home runs with a .939 OPS.
Chicago carried their momentum into the postseason and ultimately booked their ticket to the World Series. Their opponent, the Cleveland Indians (now Cleveland Guardians), were trying to snap a drought of their own. Cleveland hadn't won a Fall Classic since 1948, so both teams had no shortage of motivation to earn a World Series victory.
Cleveland jumped out to a 3-1 series lead before Chicago began to battle back. Kris Bryant and the Cubs ended up tying the series at three games apiece which led to Game 7 in Cleveland.
In a contest that even Hollywood would have endured difficulty trying to script, the Cubs and Indians found themselves tied heading into extra innings. Chicago would eventually take the lead and never look back. And of course, Kris Bryant made the final out of the game, throwing the ball across the diamond to Rizzo to seal the victory.
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Given Kris Bryant's legacy with the Cubs, it was not surprising by any means to see him receive a standing ovation on Friday. Regardless of what the future holds for Bryant, he will always be remembered as a legend at Wrigley Field.