Albert Pujols hits 700 home runs: All to know as Cardinals legend hits historic milestone

Albert Pujols hits 700 home runs: All to know as Cardinals legend hits historic milestone

The baseball gods have gifted us with two exciting home run chases in 2022. New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is making a career with 61 home runs, Roger Maris’ American League single-season record. In the National League, St. Louis Cardinals legend and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols reached the hallowed milestone of 700 home runs.

Pujols smashed his 699th and 700th career home runs on September 23, extending his sole possession of fourth place on the all-time home run list ahead of Alex Rodriguez. Pujols, 42, rejoined the Cardinals this season and it’s more than a farewell tour. He has been a very productive platoon hitter, and in August he went deep seven times in a span of 10 games to make 700 home runs a real possibility.

August 30th, Pujols drove left-hander Ross Detwiler deep for his 694th career home run. Detwiler was the 450th different pitcher Pujols has deepened in his career, breaking the record held by Barry Bonds. Of course, it’s almost certain that Pujols would have hit his 700th home run sooner were it not for the shorter pandemic season in 2020, but that was out of his control.

So the question on everyone’s mind is how far past 700 home runs can Pujols get before the end of the season? Here’s what you need to know about Pujols after he became the fourth member of the 700 home run club.

All-time home run leaderboard

Pujols currently ranks fourth in the all-time home run rankings. Only four sluggers in MLB history have hit 700 home runs, a list that now includes Pujols:

  1. Barry Bonuses: 762
  2. Hank Aaron: 755
  3. Babe Ruth: 714
  4. Alberto Pujols: 700 and counting
  5. Alex Rodriguez: 696

For what it’s worth, Pujols has averaged a home run every 16.3 at-bats in his career, which is a top-40 mark in history, but he trails other premium power hitters. Mark McGwire is the all-time leader with a home run every 10.61 at-bats. Giancarlo Stanton is the leader among active players with 13.82 at-bats per home run.

It’s worth noting that passing A-Rod, Pujols is the all-time home run leader among infielders. Bonds, Aaron and Ruth were mainly gardeners. Pujols has spent most of his career at first base. Jim Thome is the only other main draw player with 600 career home runs from him. He is eighth on the all-time list with 612.

historical relevance

The historical relevance of 700 home runs is obvious. Only four players have now made it, and there’s a chance we’ll never see another player come close to the milestone in our lifetimes. Unless Miguel Cabrera finds the fountain of youth and lasts a few more years, the active player with the best chance of 700 home runs is … probably Juan Soto? He joined the 100 home run club at age 23 earlier this season and has a long, long way to go. It’s not often that a player gets close to 700 home runs.

As some fans and certain segments of the media tend to do, we can add asterisks to just about anyone on the all-time home run list. Bonds was linked to performance-enhancing drugs. A-Rod admitted to wearing them for several seasons. Ruth played before integration. Aaron was playing when amphetamines, now a banned substance, were prevalent throughout the game. Any kind of controversy in the field involving Pujols lacks compelling evidence. You can never be 100 percent sure, but Pujols and his reputation are as clean as they come.

He’s playing more against righties.

At this point in his career, Pujols is more of a left-hander than a regular player, though with the Cardinals enjoying a sizeable lead in the NL Central, and Pujols being so productive in recent weeks, Pujols has gotten more starts. against rights. That equates to more at-bats and a greater opportunity to strengthen his position on the all-time home run list.

The universal DH allows Pujols to play every game without the wear and tear of playing on the field. There is also a box office element to this. The chase will put butts in the seats and that equals more revenue for the team. That absolutely plays a part in the distribution of time when the story is so important at stake.

The ultimate goal is to win the World Series, Pujols himself would say that, and the Cardinals should do whatever it takes to improve their World Series chances. Normally that would mean sitting Pujols against righties, but with a sizeable lead in the NL Central, St. Louis can afford to give Pujols more at-bats against righties, taking as many bites of the apple as they can. may be possible.

is still retiring

In spring training, Pujols said he plans to retire after this season., but what if he had finished the year with, say, 699 home runs? He surely would have come back in 2023 to get the milestone, right? No. Pujols has insisted that he will retire after the season, regardless of his final home run count. He reiterated both USA Today:

“I’m still going to retire, no matter if I end up hitting 693, 696, 700, whatever,” Pujols said. “I don’t get caught up in the numbers. If you would have told me 22 years ago that it would be this close, I would have told you that you are crazy. My career has been incredible.”

“No, I’ve had enough,” he said. “I’m glad I made the announcement, this was it when I signed. Really, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Hitting 700 home runs, then, must be the icing on the cake for Pujols and his legendary career.

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