Albert Pujols Joins Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron in Exclusive 700 HR Club
St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols made history last night when he became only the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to hit 700 home runs. Pujols joined Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Barry Bonds as the only members of the super-exclusive club.
Pujols hit two home runs against his former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, to reach the rare milestone. With his 700th homer run, Pujols became the first foreign-born player to join the 700 HR Club.
MLB 700 HR CLUB
- Barry Bonds – 762
- Hank Aaron – 755
- Babe Ruth – 714
- Albert Pujols – 700
It’s been an exciting MB season this year, especially for home run hitters. Aaron Judge from the New York Yankees is chasing the American League single-season home run record. Roger Maris set the AL record during his epic 1961 season with the New York Yankees, a year when he broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in the final game of the regular season (note: the Yankees played one tie game which was later made up, and hence took 163 games to achieve 162 decisions.)
Hollywood Ending for Pujols
Pujols was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where he developed the love of the game. When his family moved to Missouri, Pujols excelled as an all-state baseball player before entering the 1999 MLB Draft. The Cardinals selected him in the 13th round with the 402nd overall pick.
Pujols started his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and played 11 seasons with the Red Birds before signing a lucrative free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels. After ten seasons with the Angels, the team released him after his career stalled. He was not ready to retire, and the Los Angeles Dodgers gave him a chance to continue to revitalize his career and rekindle his passion for the game.
If the Dodgers didn’t give me that opportunity, I don’t think I would be sitting here today or you would have seen history tonight,” said Pujols in a post-game press conference.
At age 42, Pujols returned to St. Louis to play a swan-song season with his original team. He announced that 2022 would be his final season in the big leagues before he retired. A lot of naysayers thought Pujols was washed up and had no shot at reaching 700 home runs.
Pujols proved all the haters were wrong with 21 home runs in 101 games this season. He’s slashing at .265/.338/.530 and posting his best statistical season in six years.
Pujols: #699 and #700 in L.A.
Pujols connected on two home runs for the Cardinals in an 11-0 rout against the Dodgers in front of a packed crowd at Dodger Stadium. His family and five children live in Los Angeles, so they were able to witness his milestone in person. It’s difficult enough to hit one home run on any given night, but Pujols teed off on two long balls to reach the 700 HR Club.
In 2003, a young Pujols hit his 100th career home run at Dodger Stadium in L.A. Nineteen years later, Pujols smacked his 700th home run at Dodger Stadium.
To be able to do it here, at Dodger Stadium, it’s pretty special,” added Pujol. “My joy, pretty much, of this game came back being in the postseason and in the clubhouse a few feet away from here.”
In the third inning, Pujols tagged a fastball off Andrew Heaney on a 1-2 count, and connected on his 699th home run.
“He’s not going to miss those,” said Heaney after the game.
In the next inning, Phil Bickford hung a slider and Pujols crushed that pitch and hit a home run into the left field bleachers to officially join the 700 HR Club.
“When the crowd reacted, seeing all the smiles, it was a very special moment for MLB,” Bickford told The Athletic. “Albert Pujols is also one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.”
Fans at Dodger Stadium gave Pujols a standing ovation, a truly rare honor for an opposing player.
“He’s not just any other Hall of Fame player,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the L.A. Times. “He’s a guy that was a Dodger.”
Pujols is nine home runs away from tying Stan Musial for the all-time franchise home run record with the Cardinals. Musial hit 475 home runs over his Hall of Fame career with the Cardinals. With just ten games remaining, it looks like Musial’s franchise record is safe.
Pujols hit 466 home runs with the Cardinals, 222 home runs with the Angels, and 12 home runs with the Dodgers last season.
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