ST. LOUIS – Baseball fans are only one week removed from a tough reality… MLB legend Albert Pujols has officially played his final game.

In 22 seasons, from 2001 to 2022, Pujols set a standard for longevity and dominance that might be difficult for anyone in the modern era to surpass. On top of two World Series titles, three MVP awards and eleven All-Star selections, Pujols is just one of two players in MLB history with at least 700 home runs and 3,000 hits.

Pujols recently sat down with fellow Dominican Republican native and MLB Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez to reflect on his MLB journey in a one-on-one interview for TBS. Pujols shares several stories from baseball and beyond telling Martinez, “I wouldn’t change anything.”

Here are five interesting tidbits from the heartfelt interview…

Boxing leads to baseball?

Pujols opened up to Martinez about a story he doesn’t frequently share. He tried out boxing as a child and one rough experience ultimately shifted his focus to baseball.

“I was about five or six years old. The first thing I started with was boxing,” said Pujols. “First day, they spar me with another kid who was about two or three years older than me, and he beat the crap out of me, Pedro. I mean beat me up. I went home crying. I think it was the next day I choose to play baseball.”

Pujols says he didn’t know who he boxed up to this day, but adds “I want to see him so I can thank him so much!”

An early chip on the shoulder

After a dominant high school career in Independence, Missouri, Pujols fell deep in the 1999 MLB Draft. The Cardinals selected him in the 13th round with the 402nd overall pick.

“I feel I had a good career in high school and I felt like I could’ve been drafted a little higher, but it didn’t happen,” said Pujols. “So, I think carrying that chip on my shoulder knowing I want to prove these guys wrong helped me.”

To put in perspective how much of a steal Pujols turned out to be. He had 469 career home runs in 12 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Justin Morneau was the next closest in all-time home runs with 247.

Hard work = Big results

Pujols is faithful about his opportunities in baseball and thanks God for a long career and opening the door for a Cardinals return. That said, he says hard work can help the best players set themselves apart.

“There’s talent and there’s and there’s a gift and I believe God has given me that gift,” said Pujols. “Taking advantage of every single opportunity, work hard, never take anything for granted. Those are things that separate Hall of Famer players from average players.”

Pride in mentorship

In the later stages of his career, Pujols has been credited for helping young players develop their craft. It;s been helpful for a team that debuted 13 rookies this season, especially Juan Yepez and Brendan Donovan.

“I want to teach new guys that this is what helped me to have the success,” said Pujols. “It’s one thing to have the gift, the ability and the talent. You need to put the work into it yourself, whether staring at video, starting early, preparation. You never take that for granted.”

Life beyond baseball

An emotional Albert Pujols teared up near the end of his one-on-one interview with Pedro Martinez reflecting on his humble beginnings and fond farewells in Major League Baseball. Martinez asked Albert “How thankful can you be at the end of your career.”

“[For] everything,” said Pujols. Not just that. My whole life.” He added “I couldn’t even imagine…” before fighting back tears.

Pujols says he is blessed for his opportunities and the ability to help his family and future generations of ballplayers.

“[To] use my life like this, it’s just amazing. I wouldn’t change anything,” said Pujols.