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Albert Pujols chases 700 homers: Tracking the Cardinals legend’s pursuit of Alex Rodriguez, exclusive club

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In 2022, the 42-year-old kicked up the excitement before chasing a home run. The last time he led MLB in long balls — and was the last MVP — was in 2009, when his St. Louis Cardinals made a spectacular trade on time for Matt Holliday, whose son was just the No. 1 pick in the July Draft.

When Albert Pujols returned to the Cardinals for the farewell tour in 2022, he was on 679 career starts. Since 2016, he hasn’t been an above-average hitter in a season, hasn’t been able to play on the field, and hasn’t hit right-handers well enough to regularly bat for a playoff-seeking team. But the too-sweet-to-work reunion with the Cardinals worked, because it certainly did, and he was now the spark plug for the team’s rise to the top of NL Central.

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After beating two homers in a game against Arizona earlier in August, a seemingly impossible 700 run finally turned into a real possibility.

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It seemed impossible because his trendline had turned south long ago.

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, September 4, 2022, in St. Louis.  (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Sunday’s home run against the Cubs gave the Cardinals a 2-0 win, with Albert Pujol five points short of 700. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) #
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We like to say who keeps up with history, who has the trajectory of a permanent leader. But divide the all-time home run list into age groups and you’ll see we’re kidding ourselves. The under 30 leaders are Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Jimmy Fox and Pujols, who had 408 by the end of 2010. The under-31 leaders are Barry Bonds, Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth, the only members of the elusive 700-strong Pujols club trying to join. They all hit more after 31 than before.

Pujols has never had such a pace in his 30s. After hitting 32 or more homers each year with the Cardinals, he only did so once with the Angels (40 in 2015). During the second half of his time at the Angels, the question of Homer’s history was secondary to the question of how much longer he could endure to go there. He struggled to run or play on the pitch due to persistent problems with his feet and legs; the team continued to disappoint; his batting line continued to sink. At one point, his (less known) 100 WAR player status slipped away because he was accumulating negative meaning.

But the Pujols continued to play, seemingly finding a second wind with the Dodgers after parting ways with the Angels last year. He kept walking forward and tried to use some magic. And, at least for now, he found it. His eight homers in a scorching August are the most hits he has scored in any month since June 2015 (when he hit 13).

He needs one homer to tie the game and two to pass Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the all-time homers list. With five more homers, he would have reached that star that seemed so out of reach. However, it has already attracted our attention. A legend whose time has passed has once again become the star of the day.

Tracking Albert Pujol’s 700 homer chase

Pujols is currently at 695. He hit his last home run against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

As expected, it came against left-hander Cubs pitcher Brandon Hughes. Now he’s hit 12 of his 16 homers in 2022 while playing left-handed. In the process, Pujols extended his new major league record by hitting the 451st other pitchers in his career. He had previously tied with Barry Bonds, who had played 449 different pitchers.

A double throw in the eighth inning also secured the game’s first and last series as St. Louis scored a 2–0 victory over their division rival, extending their NL Central lead to eight games over the Milwaukee Brewers by a score of 79-55. .

The Cardinals have 28 regular season games left as the Pujols look for five more home runs to hit 700. Half of those games are at home. Next up is a four-game home streak against the Washington Nationals.


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