St. Louis Cardinals legend Albert Pujols just doubled down on his retirement plan after 2022, meaning his Hall of Fame career is almost over.
With Albert Pujols now at 689 career home runs, bringing him tantalizingly close to the exclusive 700 career home run club, the question was posed to the St. Louis Cardinals slugger: would he consider returning for another season in 2023?
Pujols made it clear that such a scenario is not under consideration.
“Where I’ll be in 2023 is here … watching some of these guys play from the stands,” Pujols said, via John Denton of MLB.com. “I really don’t think about it. This is it for me. … I’m going to take a little break.”
That has felt like a given since Pujols returned to St. Louis, though with the milestone unlikely to be reached this season, it was a question that had to be asked. For Pujols, it will mark the end of a career that will surely end as a first ballot Hall of Famer – and one where he will be donning a Cardinals cap in Cooperstown for eternity.
In his career, Pujols, 42, has hit .296/.374/.542 with 689 home runs, 2180 RBI and a .917 OPS. He’s won three MVP awards, Rookie of the Year, made 11 All-Star teams, won two World Series, two Gold Gloves, six Silver Slugger awards, a batting title and National League Championship Series MVP. And even in his 22nd season in the majors, he’s remained productive.
In 215 at-bats, Pujols is hitting .251/.330/.460 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI while posting a 0.5 WAR and .790 OPS. He’s been invaluable off the bench and as a veteran mentor to some of the young players in the Cardinals clubhouse, especially Dylan Carlson.
Pujols figures to continue to be a sounding board for each player going forward, but this will be his last season in a major-league clubhouse.