ST. LOUIS – The Pittsburgh Pirates fans who came away with Albert Pujols’ historic 697th home run on Sunday seem to have a connection to the Cardinals.

“My dad is a huge Cardinals fan,” said Samantha Brown, who lives in Buffalo, New York.    

Brown and her husband, Matt, drove to Pittsburgh yearly with her dad, Joe, and her two sisters to see the Pirates play the Cardinals. Brown’s father died on September 11, 2021.

“When the Pirates schedule came out and we saw that they were playing the Cardinals the weekend of the anniversary of his passing, we were like, ‘This is meant to be. We’ve got to go celebrate him,’” Brown said.

She said they were at the game on Saturday when Pujols hit number 696, which tied him for fourth on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run list.

As Pujols stepped to the plate in the ninth inning on Sunday, Brown and her husband wondered if he was going to hit another home run.

“We joked about it right before it happened. We’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, what if he hit this? What if it came our way, what would we do?’” Brown said.

Pujols did exactly that.

Matt tracked the ball, and he dove into the seats. The ball bounced right to him.

“I kind of knew what I had gotten…was jumping up and down celebrating, just shocked,” he said.

Several minutes later, a Cardinals team official asked the couple if they would meet Pujols after the game and work out a trade for the ball. They agreed and offered him the ball.

“I just said, ‘Hey, it’s been a year since my dad passed on this day. We thought this was a sign, like an angel in the outfield. The ball coming right to us,’” Brown said. “Without any hesitation, he was like, ‘Keep it…this means more to you than it does to me.’ He couldn’t have been any sweeter about it.”

Pujols gave each of them an autographed ball.

“It just kind of made me tear up. I just thought (my dad) was with us. It was meant to be,” Brown said.