“This is the night we’ve been waiting for,” McGuirk said. “This is a great night for our players and fans. We’re so glad you’re here to celebrate with us. The World Series ring, which I have on my hand right here, is the greatest prize in our sport. It’s reserved for the best, and our guys are the best, are they not?
“Truthfully, we know we would not be here without all of you. The enthusiasm, what you meant to all these players last year, you willed us to be here. No question. So thank you. And in closing, I’d just say with the enthusiasm I’ve seen in The Battery (Atlanta) and here as we start the season, I think we can do it again.”
Team CEOs Derek Schiller and Mike Plant, president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos and manager Brian Snitker were the first to stroll the red carpet from the dugout to the stage in the middle of the infield where individuals received their rings.
Anthopoulos received a loud ovation, waving and blowing a kiss to the crowd. Snitker also waved to the crowd during his healthy cheers. Each coach and essential team employee were individually introduced before second baseman Ozzie Albies led off the players group. Each player currently on the roster who was on the club last season received his ring.
Snitker and some players, including starter Max Fried and shortstop Dansby Swanson, said they hadn’t yet seen the ring, so Saturday evening was even more highly anticipated.
“I saw a prototype, I was introduced to it early on – it blew me away,” Snitker said before the ceremony. “It’s going to be really real, really special. This whole weekend has (been special). Just everything the club has done, all the pregame stuff, it’s all been something else.”
As for whether Snitker will have the ring displayed somewhere in his residence, he said: “No, I’ll probably put it in the gun case.”
Schiller previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Braves’ ring was “a reflection of the story of the 2021 team. Every single element of that ring has a very specific story to tell.”
Indeed, the ring tells the story of an unlikely champion. Among some of the many notable features: 44 emerald-cut diamonds and 755 diamonds as a nod to Hall of Famer and Braves icon Hank Aaron, who died in January 2021.
“I would say Hank was the very first element that we knew we wanted to carry forward in the ring,” Schiller said. “We weren’t sure exactly how that might happen. Jostens started giving us thoughts that you could do numbers of things, number of diamonds, number of this and that. So we knew we wanted to have 44 represented in the ring. There’s 44 emerald-cut diamonds. There’s 755 total diamonds on the face of the ring. So that’s something that was really important. And when you open up the mechanism for the player ring, you have Truist Park and it has a mini ‘44′ just like on the field.
“I think all of us, every single person who’s part of this organization, realizes what Hank meant to not only the Atlanta Braves but to all of baseball, all of sports, and to Atlanta. So we’re really proud to have him represented.”
There’s also a single pearl on the side of the ring to commemorate outfielder Joc Pederson, whose pearl necklace was a major talking point during the team’s postseason run.
Also included were postseason series results, the date of July 30, 2021, which was the team’s destiny-altering trade deadline. The ring’s top features the Braves’ “A” logo, which includes 150 diamonds as a nod to 150 years of franchise history. This is the first Atlanta-era Braves ring to feature the team’s logo on the top, as the 1995 ring didn’t include an “A.”
The top opens to reveal a miniature Truist Park with Aaron’s No. 44 displayed in the middle of the outfield, as it was throughout the 2021 campaign. Eleven rubies are included on the interior field design, placed where the Braves’ 11 World Series home runs were hit. Micro-LED lights are include to illuminate the park, an element no other championship ring has included.
The interior also includes an inscription: “We are those ...,” a salute to Pederson’s rallying-cry expletive first written in a piece on The Players’ Tribune web site. The back of the ring reads “For The A,” which was the 2021 team’s slogan.
Former Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, beloved by fans for his 12-year tenure as the face of the franchise, will receive his World Series ring when his new club, the Dodgers, visits Atlanta on June 24-26. Freeman chose to receive the ring at Truist Park rather than when the Braves visit Los Angeles in two weeks.
Freeman told the AJC of that decision: “I want to get that (ring) in front of Snit and all those guys over there because we worked so hard to achieve that. And I know the fans, even though we’re going through a breakup, I do believe I should share that with them.”
The Braves started their title defense 1-1, dropping an opening-day contest against Cincinnati before rebounding Friday to earn their first victory of the season. They’re trying to become the first repeat champion in 22 years (the Yankees, who won three consecutive titles from 1998-2000, are the most recent repeat champion).
Below are the special features of the championship ring, with information provided by the Braves in a news release:
THE RING TOP
- The World Series ring top features the Braves “A” logo, created in contrasting 18.71-karat white gold paying homage to the founding of the franchise in 1871.
- An astounding 150 diamonds are intricately, pavé-set within the “A” honoring the incredible 150 years of franchise history.
- A blue stone can be seen beneath the logo, creating a subtle blue outline and surrounding the logo are an additional 193 brilliant diamonds.
- The words “WORLD CHAMPIONS” accents the top and bottom of the ring, set expertly with 113 diamonds.
- Adoring the left and right sides of the ring are two rows of 11 emerald-cut diamonds; when combined there are a total of 44 emerald-cut diamonds that celebrate Braves legend Hank Aaron.
- Completing the ring top are four princess-cut rubies, set in the four corners of the ring top representing the four World Series victories achieved by the Braves.
- Using a specialized mechanism, the entire top of the ring can be removed to reveal extra storytelling details.
- Upon opening, the ring lights up with micro-LED lights and illuminates a miniature Truist Park, much like the lights which lit the field during the Braves’ historic postseason run.
- The meticulous detail of the ballpark field displays 44 which was on the outfield grass all season long, a nod to Aaron.
- Set within the stands of Truist Park are 11 rubies – each ruby is placed in the exact location where the Braves’ 11 World Series home runs were hit.
- When removed, the reverse side of the ring top features the phrase, “WE ARE THOSE ...,” a modified line from an article written by Joc Pederson in the Player’s Tribune about the Braves and their chances in the postseason, which was then used by many players on the team to describe their historic achievement.
- Below, once again is “2021 WORLD CHAMPIONS.”
LEFT SIDE OF RING
- Features the recipient’s name and below their name is the Braves’ tomahawk logo made with four custom-cut rubies delicately held in place with fine pieces of yellow gold.
- Celebrating their individual contribution to the team’s success, players receive their jersey number set with diamonds below the logo.
- The bricks of Truist Park’s notoriously difficult right-field wall are re-created in spectacular miniature detail in the background.
RIGHT SIDE OF RING
- The right side proudly displays the Braves’ wordmark logo in the 1972 font.
- Below, is the Commissioner’s Trophy set with a single genuine white pearl. The unique use of the pearl on the championship ring is in reference to Pederson’s famous pearl necklace, which became part of the fans attire during the 2021 postseason.
- Set in the base of the trophy are four round diamonds, honoring the Braves’ fourth consecutive NL East championship.
- Surrounding the trophy is a stylized baseball diamond, with three princess-cut diamonds set in first, second and third base with an additional 16 round diamonds set in the base paths.
- In total there are 23 diamonds on the right side of the ring, symbolic of the 23 home runs hit in the 2021 postseason. Completing the right side is the championship year date, 2021 and the right field brick-wall background.
ADDITIONAL STORYTELLING FEATURES
- The ring features the logos and series results of the opponents defeated by the Braves on their journey to become World Series champions.
- To the right is the team’s modified postseason motto “BATTLE WON.”
- “7.30.21″ also is inscribed signifying the trade deadline where the team made significant moves to add key players who contributed during the postseason.
- Above is the iconic “A” logo created using a custom-blue ceramic which perfectly matches the deep blue hue associated with the Braves.
- Below, a red sword, a reference to the unique celebration by outfielder Guillermo Heredia.
- As an added element of personalization, players receive their own unique signature on the interior palm of the ring.
- The ring features an incredible number of diamonds not only set in the ring top, but along the ring sides as well. An additional 232 round diamonds cascade from the top of the ring, flowing down the sides and palm where the words “FOR THE A” are prominently featured
- The ring boasts an incredible total stone count unlike any other championship ring.
- 755 diamonds
- 708 round diamonds
- 44 emerald-cut diamonds
- 3 princess-cut diamonds
- 4 custom-cut rubies
- 4 princess-cut rubies
- 11 round rubies
- one white pearl
- In total these rings have an astounding total gem carat weight of approximately 13.3 carats