Joc Pederson 'snagged' Anthony Rizzo's bat before leaving Cubs, hits clutch HR with it
While the Cubs watch the 2021 MLB Playoffs unfold from their couches — and simultaneously relive their spectacular 2016 campaign with Audacy and MLB’s original podcast “The Run” — one former member of this year’s Cubs had a memorable moment that involved another former Cub. Confused? Let’s clear that up.
Joc Pederson, who signed a free agent deal with Chicago prior to the 2021 season, was sent to the Braves in July and is now playing a big role in Atlanta’s postseason run. In Game 1 of the NLDS, Pederson had a pinch-hit home run. In Game 2, he had a pinch-hit single. And in Game 3, he came through yet again off the bench, producing all three runs of the game with one majestic pinch-hit swing.
But wait, didn’t I mention something about another former Cub taking part in the play? Right you are, observant reader. Pederson was using not his own bat, but that of a former Cubs teammate, Anthony Rizzo, in the AB. Rizzo also left the Cubs this July, departing for greener (or at least more pinstriped) pastures and joining up with the Yankees. Though they were eliminated from playoff contention after a Red Sox Wild Card victory, Rizzo’s name popped up yet again due to the bat that Pederson smacked a home run with.
Asked about it after the game, Pederson cracked a smile and referred to his old teammate — or perhaps the bat itself? — by a moniker I had not yet heard.
“Bighorn gets a lot of hits, so I snagged one of his bats before I left,” Pederson said. “I used it a few times over there and took it up there, so... Rizz has that special October strength, too, so thanks Bighorn!”
Rizzo does have a pretty nice postseason resume, going 17-50 in the 2016 NLCS and World Series with three home runs and 10 RBI across those 13 games. He also contributed one of the lone sparks of offense for the Yankees in their loss to Boston, hitting a home run of his own.
Meanwhile, former Cub Kris Bryant has come through in a big way for his new team, going 3-3 with a home run in the Giants’ Game 1 victory over the Dodgers in the NLDS. Craig Kimbrel, on the other hand, has not experienced the same postseason success. He too has been involved in a home run, but as you might have guessed, he was on the receiving end.