Los Angeles – Welcome to the 700 Club, Albert Pujols! The St. Louis Cardinals legend has officially made his way to the exclusive baseball district on his farewell season.
In legendary fashion, Albert Pujols broke his 700th home run in his career just once after running his 699th home run. Pujols became the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to reach this achievement.
Widely hailed as one of baseball’s best hitters of the 21st century, the two-time world champion will end his baseball career with one of the most anticipated baseball stories of the season.
“I’m just trying to do something,” Pujols told FOX2 in May about the accessibility to 700 homes. “I just let things happen. My job pretty much is to try to get ready to play every day and focus on helping our ball club win every night however I can. At the end of the day, if that happens, it will happen, but it’s something I don’t even think about.”
The Pujols made his historic home run against Dodgers’ Phil Pickford in the fourth inning, a three-game streak at home that came less than an hour after the Dodgers netted 699.
The Journey to 700 Home Games: Over 3,000 games and nearly 11,400 at bat over 22 seasons, the first 11 campaigns and the grand finale is arguably the most popular hitter ever for a series of St. Louis Cardinals decks. It’s been exactly 7,840 days since the Pujols’ first major league blast on April 6, 2001 against Armando Renoso of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Pujols enjoyed no fewer than 30 home runs in each of their first 11 seasons with the Cardinals, the longest such streak to start a baseball career. He also delivered a 300 hitting average, scoring 100 points and 100 RBI or better in nine of those 11 seasons. He made the best 49 races of his career in 2006 en route to his first World Championship title.
When the Pujols left St. Louis after the 2011 season, he was second in all-time records among the Cardinals with 445 home runs, trailing the Stan Musical only 475. His pace slowed upon joining the Los Angeles Angels in 2012, though he reached 500 home runs in 2014 and 600 milestones in 2017.
Chasing the 700 home runs has been a hot topic among baseball fans since the Pujols signed a one-year contract to reunite the Cardinals in late spring training, a season he has consistently maintained would be his last. He entered the 2022 season with 679 players.
The Pujols overcame a slow start in the power department, which only generated four home runs in the first three months of the season. With increased playtime and mechanical adjustments, Pujols turned the clock in father’s time to bring a noble goal closer to reality. Pujols has mashed up 17 home races since the start of July and 14 since switching to August. The chase has intensified beyond three multiple home games this season.
Above all, the Pujols’ recent surge has helped the Cardinals cusp their fourth straight berth. St. Louis entered their penultimate run with a record 15-1 in the Pujols’ run this season. On six occasions since his 690th home run, including his first blast on Friday, Pujols have tied the game or given the Cardinal a lead.
That included running back-to-back home runs in Pittsburgh earlier this month for the game and overtaking Alex Rodriguez for fourth all-time. The Pujols tied the September 10 game with his 696th career blast to tie with A-Rod, then brought the ninth inning back with the starting signal on September 11th.
“He keeps doing it in meaningful situations, and that’s what matters,” said Ole Marmol, the Cardinals’ manager. “It would be one thing if he was only chasing her, but he takes an incredible approach and delivers when we need him most.”
While chasing an all-time fourth place and 700 career home run, Pujols passed a more-set home record held by MLB captain Barry Bonds on home soil. Pujols plowed against his 450th different bowler on August 29, giving him the most home runs ever from different bowlers. He has expanded this record with two round players for 455 unique weapons.
Only three MLB greats are ahead of Pujols at the 700-home run club. The three greatest leaders of all time are Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Bay Ruth (714).
The dispatch season has been very special for the Pujols, as he participated in the Home Run Derby and MLB All-Star Game after picking the Legacy of the Commissioner and one in which he also made his debut as a pitcher.
Now in his twelfth season with the Cardinals, Pujols won three NL MVP Awards and two World Rings in St. Louis from 2001-2011, a stint during which he hit no fewer than 32 home runs each season and set several franchise batting records. He ranks second in the Cardinals’ history with 466 home runs just behind fellow Cardinals legend Stan Musial.
And there really are more things Pujols wants to improve in his Hall of Fame career.
“Is he chasing the 700? Yes, but he’s chasing more championship than that,” said Marmol.
“It’s great to be back here, playing last year where it all started here with the Cardinals, and trying to win another tournament,” Pujols said.
The Pujols have eleven more games to add to his 700 career as the Cardinals begin to pursue the post-season. He holds an average of 266 hits, 21 home runs and 58 RBIs in his final season, just behind top two players Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in the last two categories among his teammates.