The 700 Club
In season number 22, Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run joining Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), and Babe Ruth (714).
Albert Pujols began his prolific career in 2001 with the St. Louis Cardinals. After 11 years and 445 home runs, Pujols took a trip west to play with the Los Angeles Angels. Pujols continued his hall of fame career hitting 222 home runs in 9 years while missing time due to injury. Pujols then moved across the street to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers where he hit 12 homeruns in half a season. In what he announced as his last season, Pujols returned to St. Louis to wrap it up with the cardinals. With 21 home runs needed, Pujols began his final campaign to hit 700.
On Friday, September 23rd, 2022, Albert Pujols was sitting on 698 home runs. It was a Friday night matchup game in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. In the top of the third, Albert Pujols crushed a middle-middle fastball off Andrew Heaney, 434 feet into the left field bleachers. Knowing they were witnessing history, Dodgers fans couldn’t help but applaud and cheer for the 42 year old veteran. This, however, wasn’t the end of the night for Pujols. After a rally in the fourth, Pujols was due up for his third at bat of the night. Prior to stepping in the box, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled his starter and put in a crafty right-hander, Phil Bickford.
Bickford started the at bat versus Pujols with two straight sliders at 81 miles per hour. With a one and one count, Bickford threw his third consecutive slider which Pujols hit 389 feet into left-center field. Giving chase, left fielder Chris Taylor could only watch the ball soar into the first row of the grandstands. With that hit, Pujols had joined the most elite club in all of baseball, the 700 club.
After touching home, Pujols ran to high five close friend Adrien Beltre and then returned to celebrate with his team. The celebration was concluded with a curtain call, where Cardinals and Dodgers fans gave him a standing ovation. Pujols then entered the dugout tunnel, where he was not able to control his emotions. Previously, Albert has stated that one regret in his career was not allowing his emotions to show; well on this night, his emotions poured out. After the game, Pujols stated, “I didn’t control them”. Teammates and coaches who looked down the tunnel said that one of the best things about the moment was seeing the pure joy pour out of Albert in the tunnel. At that moment, Albert was alone and he was simply taking it all in. With 700 home runs locked down, Pujols and the Cardinals look to complete the farewell tour and give Albert the best goodbye possible, a world series title.
- “Albert Pujols Stats, Height, Weight, Position, Rookie Status & More.” Baseball, https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/pujolal01.shtml .
“Cardinals vs. Dodgers - Box Score - September 23, 2022.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, https://www.espn.com/mlb/boxscore/_/gameId/401356462.