Braves: Joc Pederson’s impact on Atlanta is bigger than baseball

On July 15, 2021, Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league prospect Bryce Ball.

Just a few short months later, he had an entire city wearing pearl necklaces and rallying around the odds-defying Atlanta Braves.

Fast forward to 2022, and the now-Giants slugger was greeted with multiple standing ovations in his return to Truist Park.

Joc’s return to Atlanta featured multiple standing ovations, fans bringing their pearls back out at Truist Park, and a reminder of just how incredible the Braves’ run to their first World Series since 1999 really was.

Along with his eccentric flair and game-winning plate appearances, Joc brought something more than just his play and personality to the city of Atlanta:

A reason to believe.

In a one-of-a-kind piece by Pederson on The Players Tribune, he discussed his trade from Chicago and his experience being a member of the team, featuring this iconic quote before the Braves’ World Series win:

“Obviously I don’t know what’s coming next — it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen over these next four, five, six, seven games.

I like our chances, though.

Because, yeah — we might not be a superteam. We might have only won 88 games. We might have had our share of injuries, and slipped below some people’s radars, and taken an unconventional path to get to this stage.

But we also just might be those motherf*ckers.

And no one’s beat us yet.”

Turns out, he was right.

His piece was shared across Braves Country, with many referencing his words as the Braves continued to win in the postseason.

In fact, Pederson’s iconic phrase from his piece in The Players’ Tribune and a pearl referencing his strand of pearls he wore during the postseason run were both featured on the Braves’ championship rings:

With his iconic personality, the play he brought to the Braves lineup after Ronald Acuña Jr.’s season-ending injury was a huge reason Atlanta was able to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy.

In his 64 regular-season games with Atlanta, Pederson slashed .249/.325/.428, piling up seven home runs and 22 RBI.

During his nine postseason games, Joc smacked three home runs, being one of four Braves to hit three home runs in the postseason.

He also drove in nine runs, ranking fourth for the Braves during the postseason behind Freddie Freeman (11), Eddie Rosario (11), and Adam Duvall (10).

With his strong postseason, Atlanta finally found themselves on the good side of “Joctober,” as they had played against Pederson and the Dodgers two of in their past three postseasons before their World Series run.

Joc’s reign of terror in October for Atlanta included a memorable NLDS performance where we saw him hit a three-run moonshot in Game 3 of the NLDS against Adrian Houser and the Milwaukee Brewers, leading the Braves to a series lead and eventual win.

Despite spending just a few months with the team, Pederson’s impact on the city of Atlanta was immense, with his iconic pearl necklace earning its way into Cooperstown.

Judging by how he was greeted in his first game back in Atlanta, he earned his way into the hearts of fans along the way.

As Joc looks to earn his second career All-Star appearance as a member of the Giants, what he brought to the city of Atlanta on and off the field will go down in history.