Cardinals’ Albert Pujols makes history with a home run. 700

Mountain. Major League slugger Rushmore gets a fourth chiseled face — this one with a dark, short-cut beard, a seemingly perpetual frown, and a gold chain around his neck — — When Albert Puyos hit his 700th home run in his Hall of Fame career, the Cardinals won 11-0 at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.

Burly St. The St. Louis Cardinals star, who has spent most of the past decade with the Angels, delivered his landmark explosion in the fourth inning against Dodgers backup Phil Bickford Left field, joining Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) as the only players in major league history to hit 700 home runs.

“It’s special,” Puyols said of joining the 700 Club. “When I really get hit is when I finish at the end of the season and I retire and I can look at the stats a month or two after that.

“Don’t get me wrong, I know where I am in the game, but from day one, it’s never been about the numbers. It’s always been about winning titles and getting better at this game.”

Puyols entered the game two home runs shy of 700. 699, in the third inning, Dodgers left pitcher Andrew Heaney made two runs into the left field at 434 feet.

Do not. 700 innings later, when Pujols drove a 389-foot 3-pointer into his left-field seat, a night reminiscent of his 499th and 500th career homers for the Washington Angels on April 22 competition, 2014.

Puyols, who hit 455 different pitching home runs, circled the base, pointed his index finger to the sky, and clapped his hands as he crossed the plate, a “natural” theme played on the public address system.

He was mobbed by his teammates in front of the dugout. During his five-month stint with the Dodgers last season, fans of 50,041 chanted his name and demanded a curtain call, and when Puyols agreed, he received thunderous applause.

Former Cardinals and Oakland Athletics slugger Mark McGwire, who hit 583 career home runs, said of Pujols joining the Exclusive 700: “It’s Babe and Hank in a long, long life. A number set when it was stable, great.” “But I’m not surprised at all.

“Listen, if he hadn’t been in Anaheim, where he basically lost his legs and injured his knees and feet, we’d be talking about 800 home runs, not 700. In my opinion, no No doubt he will be blown away by Barry’s record.”

Pujols’ offense to the 700 was overshadowed by New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge’s quest for the Triple Crown and Roger Maris’ single-season American League home run record of 61. St. Louis fans rose to their feet, and they used their smartphones to capture every batter at Busch Stadium’s 42-year-old, as well as players throughout the game.

But it captivated St. St. Louis fans rose to their feet, and they used their smartphones to capture every batter at Busch Stadium’s 42-year-old, as well as players throughout the game.

“Every night, you want to look at the score, and when he hits a home run, everyone talks about it,” said Angels center fielder Mike Trout, who played with Puyols in Anaheim 9+ years.

“It’s crazy. When he’s here and passing all the big names, sometimes you have to pinch yourself to see it for yourself. Seven hundred is a lot of home runs. But the way Albert works, the time he puts in, the preparation, Dedication…you can’t bet on him.”

Surrounded by his five kids at a postgame press conference, Pujols said the Cardinals haven’t recovered their 700th home run…yet.

“Souvenirs are for fans,” Puyols said. “If they want to give it back, that’s fine, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to focus on the material stuff. I have the bat, the uniform, the special stuff. If they want to keep that baseball, I don’t have any problem.”

When asked what he would say to Bickford on Saturday, Bickford delivered a goal from Puyols. 700, Pujols said: “I’ll tell him, thank you for hanging up that slider.”

Puyols rose to 700 at the end of his 22nd and final season, continuing a late-career revival that began when the Angels released the aging and often-injured first baseman in May 2021, The team failed to win the course of the Pujols’ 10-year, $240 million deal in the playoffs.

Puyols, who had 667 home runs at the time, signed with the Dodgers and had a .759 batting average, 12 home runs and 38 RBIs as valuable reserves in 85 games, including against lefties .953 OPS, a five-month tenure that Pujols said contributed to his decision to play another year.

stone. St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols waves to fans as he receives the honor.

stone. St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols greeted the crowd at Dodger Stadium after hitting his 700th home run.

(Ashley Landis/The Associated Press)

“Having my family in town and doing it at Dodger Stadium and I’m returning my joy to the game last year in the playoffs and at this club, it’s amazing,” Puyols Say. “It’s special to be here with Dodgers fans.”

Pujols signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract last March to return to St. Louis. Lewis, the most feared right-hander in baseball over the first 11 years of his career, hit 0.328 with 1.037 OPS, 445 homers and 1,329 RBIs, winning three National League MVP and two World Series champions.

Nicknamed “The Machine” because of his consistency throughout the first decade of his career, Pujols was more of a backup role this season, being relegated to the platoon-designated hitter and pinch hitter roles for most of his The starters are all for lefties.

His slow start in 2022 shows little sign that he will hit the 21 homers needed to hit 700 — Puyols had a .601 OPS, four homers and 17 on July 4 RBI hit 0.189 home runs.

But in early July, he made a slight mechanical adjustment in his swing to remove some motion in his hands and shorten the path of the bat, and he made a surprise appearance in the home run derby semifinals at Dodger Stadium on July 18. ran into the second half. surge.

stone. St. Louis Cardinals-designated hitter Albert Pujols hit a home run.

(Ashley Landis/The Associated Press)

Albert Pujols hit his 700th career homer in the fourth inning Friday.

Albert Pujols hit his 700th career homer in the fourth inning Friday.

(Ashley Landis/The Associated Press)

Starting in August, Puyols is hitting .315 with 1.052 OPS, 12 homers and 29 at-bats in 38 games. 10 to Thursday. His 1.224 OPS in August was the best of any player with 65 or more appearances in baseball. Starting in August, he hit five home runs in a five-game stretch. 14-20.

“I think for me it was more special because it almost felt like people forgot about him in Anaheim,” Cardinals backup coach Skip Shoemaker said. “Then he bounced back in the second half of last year and did a great job.

“But to say you think it’s going to happen? I mean, I’m lying to you if I say I think it’s going to happen.”

Shoemaker, 42, is the same age as Puyols, a former utility man who played with Puyols in St. Petersburg. Louis retired from 2005 to 2011 and retired in 2015. Seven years later, Pujols is still smashing home runs, and Shoemaker is five years into his coaching career.

“It’s been fantastic,” Shoemaker said. “Not many 40-year-olds play this game, I think you can talk to some 35-year-olds in the league who feel bad [physically]correct? But I don’t think that’s all that surprising anymore. “

Shoemaker recalled his recent conversation with Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, the 35-year-old NL MVP candidate who averaged 0.321, 1.003 OPS, 35 home runs and 112 RBIs heading into the weekend series against the Dodgers.

“Goldie said he hit his 300th career home run [this season]he has 400 home runs [from Pujols]Shoemaker said. “And he’s a very good player, right? That says where Abbott is. He’s just on another level.”

Few talent evaluators see Pujols as having All-Star potential, let alone a Hall of Fame. Pujols, a native of the Dominican Republic who moved to Missouri as a teenager, was the 13th-round pick and the 402nd overall pick by the Cardinals at Maple Grove Community College in Kansas City, Missouri. Year 1999.

But Pujols broke the minor league pitching in 2000 and batted with such authority in his first major league training camp in 2001 that McGwell told ESPN that spring that Pujols slapped the ball with such authority. Halls “will no doubt be in the Hall of Fame.”

More than two decades later, Puyols ranks fourth on baseball’s all-time homer list despite never hitting 50 home runs in a season. He ranks third in RBIs (2,010), fifth in doubles (685), 10th in hits (3,377) and 12th in runs (1,906). Heaney and Bickford became the 454th and 455th pitchers to give up home runs to Puyols.

“The work ethic I saw the first day I saw him [in 2001] Never relaxed,” McGwell said. “Thinking about how he made hundreds of millions of dollars, it never affected the way he did business. I really hope the media and baseball fans really understand the greatness that lies ahead of us. “

It hasn’t been a long motivational ride for the 11-time All-Star Pujols. He has walked more than strikeouts in 10 seasons and has never had more than 93 strikeouts in a year. He won the batting championship in 2003 with a .359 average. He won two Golden Glove awards. He stole 16 bases in 2005 and 2009 and 14 in 2010.

“You don’t think someone hitting 700 home runs is a complete player, but he is,” McGwell said. “We’re basically witnessing another Hank Aaron who is a line hitter with gap-to-gap power and never hit 50 home runs in a season.

“There’s a reason Albert should be a unanimous, first-vote Hall of Famer choice. If he’s not, there’s something wrong with the system.”

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