DENVER – Albert Pujols has treated baseball fans to some fine moments in his sendoff season, and he’s bringing some nostalgia to ballparks all around the country.
Pujols lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-5 road victory over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday behind a four-hit night, his first since 2019 and first with the Cardinals in nearly 11 years.
In his latest hitting clinic, Pujols sparked a five-run charge in the first inning, connected for back-to-back jacks with Nolan Arenado to pick up his 687th career home run and played all nine innings at first base. All of this on a night during which Pujols tied Ty Cobb for the fifth-most games played in MLB history.
The storied career of Albert Pujols also came full-circle Wednesday with where it all began. Coors Field was not only the site of Albert’s latest adventures, but also where he first took the field as a Major League Baseball player more than 3,000 games ago.
On April 2, 2001, Pujols made his MLB debut in Denver, batting sixth, starting in left field and picking up his first hit against Rockies starter Mike Hampton. It’s a ballpark he’s enjoyed ever since, hitting 13 home runs with 47 RBIs and a .311 batting average over 54 games.
Coors Field, which has served as the Rockies’ home ballpark since 1995, is among the limited number of MLB ballparks left standing from when Pujols first broke onto the baseball scene. Eleven teams, including eight National League teams, have switched ballparks since Pujols’ 2001 rookie season.
To commemorate the final seasons of Pujols and catcher Yadier Molina, the Rockies gifted the two longtime Cardinals with a STL sign from the field’s out-of-town scoreboard. The signs also listed their career highlights, per St. Louis Post-Dispatch Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold.
Pujols keeps adding to a sendoff season that has already featured his fifth Home Run Derby appearance, 11th All-Star game and several personal milestones. Now in his 12th season with the Cardinals, Pujols won three NL MVP awards and two World Series rings in St. Louis from 2001-2011, a stint during which he broke or chased several franchise batting records. He ranks second in Cardinals history with 453 home runs and 1,355 RBI, only behind fellow Cardinals legend Stan Musial in both categories.
The Cardinals wrap up a three-game road series with the Colorado Rockies on Thursday before heading home for a six-game homestand.