ST. LOUIS – All eyes on Albert! The St. Louis Cardinals legend will be chasing baseball history in the final weeks of his storied career, and he’s got some work cut out for him.
Albert Pujols slugged two home runs in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, which now gives him 10 this season and 689 over 22 MLB seasons.
The two-time World Series champion has established himself as one of baseball’s best hitters in the 21st century and plans to retire after the 2022 season. While he’s reached countless milestones that most in professional baseball will never come close to, there are two more within reach.
Fourth-all time in home runs and the 700-home run club.
“I just try to do my thing,” Pujols told FOX2 in May on the potential 700-home run milestone. “I just let things happen. My job pretty much is to try to get ready to play every day and focus to help our ball club to win every night however I can. At the end of the day, if it happens, it happens, but it’s something that I don’t even think about.”
Only four MLB greats have more career home runs than Pujols and only three are part of the 700-home run club. The top four all-time home run leaders are Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696). Pujols is currently fifth with 698 round-trippers.
The chase for 700 home runs has been a hot topic for baseball fans ever since Albert Pujols signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals late in Spring Training. After a slow start in the power department, which only generated four home runs in the season’s first three months, Pujols is heating up. He has six home runs since the start of July and three over the last week.
Time is starting to wind down on the 2022 Cardinals season, a campaign which Pujols has publicly stated several times would be his last. The Cardinals head into the new week with 48 games left this season. Pujols needs eight more home runs for sole possession of the 4th most all-time and 11 more to join the illustrious 700-club.
To accomplish both feats, Pujols will need to average around three home runs every 13 games, a rate of one home run per 4.36 games. To at least top Rodriguez for fourth-most all-time, Pujols will need to average no less than one home run every six games.
Some of it might come down to luck. Some of it might come down to utilizing Pujols in more favorable matchups, such as games against left-handed pitching or at shallow-fence ballparks.
It appears the chase might come down to the wire in October. Ahead of the season, Draft Kings and GamblingSites.org released odds on prop bets for Pujols’ home run chase. The two agencies gave him +800 and +275 odds respectively for Pujols to reach 700 home runs, though also revealed -1200 and -400 odds of him missing out on the milestone.
In preparation for this piece, I asked about Pujols’ home run chase via Twitter and collected hundreds of responses as to where he will wind up at the season’s end. Among the poll responses…
- 27% believe Pujols will reach the 700 club
- 36% believe Pujols will overtake fourth place all-time, but fall just short of 700
- 37% believe Pujols will fall short of both feats.
Regardless of how things end up, the sendoff season has been quite special for Pujols, one in which he participated the Home Run Derby and MLB All-Star Game after a commissioner’s legacy pick and one in which he made his first appearance as a pitcher.
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 455 home runs and 1,359 RBI, only behind fellow Cardinals legend Stan Musial in both categories.