Albert Pujols joins Baseball’s 500 Home Run Club
Former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has joined baseball’s 500 Home Run club. With two home runs last night, the former Cardinal became the 26th player to join the club. A fun fact is that Pujols became the first player to join the club with hitting 499 and 500 during the same game.
Apr 22, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (5) hits a two-run home run during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. This was Pujols (5) 500th career home run. Los Angeles Angels defeated Washington Nationals 7-2. Image Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
I’m happy that he’s joined the exclusive home run club but am saddened that it came in a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim uniform rather than that of a Cardinals uniform. While it does still sting that he chose not to be a one-team player by going out west, the Cardinals were able to offer contract extensions to the likes of Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Allen Craig, and Matt Carpenter.
The reaction from Cardinals Nation after Pujols joined the club was bittersweet. While many offered congrats on Twitter, some still feel the burn that came around in December 2011 when it wwas announced that he signed with the Angels.
On the milestone watch list, Pujols is 130 hits away from his 2,500th career hit. With the way he’s rebounded this season from an injury-plagued 2013 season, Pujols might very well reach that plateau this season.
As a Cardinal, Pujols launched 445 home runs–second only to Stan Musial in franchise history–a number that would have him ranked in 38th place all-time. Most of Pujols’ franchise numbers are second to Stan the Man. I wonder what could have been if Pujols had joined the likes of Derek Jeter and remained with the same franchise the entire time. But, alas, we’ll never know what truly could have been.