On July 15, 2021, Cubs player Jock Pederson was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league opportunity Bryce Bowl.
Just a few months later, he had an entire city wearing pearl necklaces and swirling around the Atlanta Braves defying the odds.
Fast forward to 2022, and the player who is now – the Giants was welcomed with multiple standing ovations on his return to Trust Park.
Jock’s return to Atlanta was marked by multiple standing ovations, fans fetched their pearls once again at Truist Park, and a reminder of how amazing it was for the Braves to reach their first World Championship since 1999.
Besides his quirky flair and in-game appearance, Joc brought something more than just his game and personality to the city of Atlanta:
reason to believe.
In a one-of-a-kind article by Pederson on The Players Tribune, he discusses his trade from Chicago and his experience being a team member, and offers this famous quote before the Braves won the World Championship:
“Obviously I don’t know what’s going to happen next – it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen during these next four, five, six, seven matches.
I like our chances though.
Because, yeah – we might not be a super team. We may only have won 88 matches. We may have had our share of casualties, slipped off some people’s radars, and took an unorthodox route to get to this point.
But we, too, may be those pioneers.
No one has hit us yet.”
Turns out he was right.
His article was shared across Braves Country, with many citing his words as the Braves went on to win the postseason.
In fact, Pederson’s iconic phrase appeared from his article in The Players’ Tribune and a pearl referring to the strand of pearls he wore during post-season episodes starring the Braves:
With his signature personality, the play he brought into the Braves squad after Ronald Acuña Jr.’s injury at the end of the season was a huge reason why Atlanta were able to lift the Commissioner’s Cup.
In 64 regular season games with Atlanta, Pederson cut 0.249/.325/.428, accumulating seven home runs and 22 RBI.
During his nine post-season games, Jock hit three home runs, being one of four bravest to hit three home runs in postseason.
He also led nine runs, ranking fourth for the Braves during the post-season behind Freddy Freeman (11), Eddie Rosario (11) and Adam Duvall (10).
With their strong post-season team, Atlanta finally found themselves on the good side of “Joctober,” playing against Pederson and two Dodgers in the last three seasons before taking off in the World Championships.
Jock’s reign of terror in October for Atlanta included an unforgettable NLDS performance as we saw him take a triple shot in a Game 3 of the NLDS against Adrian Houser and Milwaukee Brewers, leading the Braves to a streak of lead and eventual victory.
Despite spending only a few months with the team, Pederson’s impact on the city of Atlanta has been enormous, with his iconic pearl necklace making its way to Cooperstown.
Judging by the way he was greeted on his first game in Atlanta, he made his way into fans’ hearts along the way.
As Joc looks to earn his second All-Star appearance as a member of the Giants, what brought him to Atlanta on and off the field will go down in history.