Ronald Acuña Jr.'s 2023 season has been dominant for the Atlanta Braves and TIME Magazine has even taken note, naming him to its TIME100 Next list. The list recognizes 100 people whom TIME Magazine sees as rising leaders in various industries, including health, the arts, and of course, sports.
Other athletes named to the TIME100 NEXT list include Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles, Salma Paralluelo of Liga F Barcelona, and Angel Reese of the LSU Tigers.
Ronald Acuña Jr. gets a huge shoutout from a childhood hero
TIME didn't just compile a list of future leaders and call it a day. For each person on the list, a current leader is invited to "pay tribute" to the rising stars. In Acuña's case, that leader was Miguel Cabrera.
The Braves superstar grew up idolizing his fellow countryman, and when he was playing in the minors, he often wore #24 because of Miggy. When he reached the majors, that number was taken by Kurt Suzuki, and Acuña ultimately took #13.
Even after winning the National League Rookie of the Year, some still believed he'd change his number to 24 after Kurt Suzuki left for Washington after the 2018 season to honor his childhood hero.
Earlier this season, Cabrera, who owns nearly every Venezuelan batting record, was asked who he thought would break all of his records. His answer? Ronald Acuña Jr.
Miggy didn't hold back in his tribute to Ronald for the TIME100 NEXT list, either. Not only did he say that Acuña had the chance of becoming the greatest Venezuelan baseball player ever, but he also thought Ronnie had multiple 40-40s in store.
"He is a young player, and I foresee him having more than one 40-40 season. I hope God keeps him healthy so he can reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. You know, I don’t want to be the lone Venezuelan on that list."- Miguel Cabrera
Can you imagine your childhood idol saying that about you?