Albert Pujols continues to rewrite history in his final MLB season. Earlier this week, the St. Louis Cardinals star hit his 697th career home run and now has sole possession of fourth place on the league's all-time home run list. Pujols is looking to be the fourth person in MLB history to hit 700 home runs, with the other three being Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762).
"For 23 years as I've played as a professional, for 37 years I've played in my life, I've always appreciated this game," Pujols said after the game, per MLB.com. "You have to. This opportunity comes once, and that's something I've been blessed with."For me, I play every game like it's the last game of my career."
PUJOLS IS IN SOLE POSSESION OF 4TH ALL-TIME! pic.twitter.com/UMj2W6wjRp— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 11, 2022
Before the 2022 season began, Pujols announced that this would be his final season after playing in the league since 2001. He returned to the Cardinals this season after originally being with the team from 2001 to 2011. He then spent nearly 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2021 season. Along with being among the best home run hitters in history, Pujols has been selected to play in the All-Star game 11 times, won the NL MVP award three times and won two World Series titles when he was with the Cardinals for the first time.
But even if Puljos doesn't reach 700 homers, he plans to retire when the season comes to an end. "I'm still going to retire, no matter whether I end up hitting 693, 696, 700, whatever," Pujols said in August, per The Spun. "I don't get caught up in numbers. If you were going to tell me 22 years ago that I would be this close, I would have told you that you're freakin' crazy. My career has been amazing."
Pujols hit at least 30 home runs in his first 12 seasons in the league. And of those 12 seasons, Pujols hit at least 40 home runs in six. Pujols can also drive in runs as he has 2,200 career RBIs, the third-most in MLB history. He also has 3,370 career hits, which puts him 10th on the all-time list.