On this day in 2007 a new era of baseball began in Milwaukee, as Ryan Braun went 1-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBI in the Brewers' 8-6 loss to the Padres at Petco Park. Braun batted second in his major league debut.
Braun had been the #5 overall pick in the draft just two years earlier, and had been the heir apparent at third base for nearly all of his time in the minors. He hit .313/.375/.572 while rapidly climbing the ladder, and before joining the Crew he'd hit ten home runs in 34 AAA games.
Braun's career took a detour in the field (he was moved from third base to left field in 2008) but at the plate it never veered off course. He's been a .300 or better hitter in six of his seven MLB seasons and has already led the NL in slugging (twice), OPS (twice), home runs, hits and runs scored. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2007, has won five consecutive Silver Slugger Awards and was the 2011 NL MVP.
Braun is under contract through 2020 on a pair of early-signed extensions, and has a club option for 2021. If the Brewers hadn't worked early to lock him up, he'd be due to be a free agent following this season. He's already among the franchise's all-time leaders in home runs (fourth), stolen bases (fifth), runs (sixth), RBI (sixth), doubles (sixth) and hits (eighth).
We also covered Braun's debut anniversary in this space two years ago, but I thought it was worth updating.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to: