Cardinals: Albert Pujols has a real chance for 700 career home runs
St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame slugger Albert Pujols has a real chance for 700 career home runs as the team surges to a playoff berth.
At one point, it looked like St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame slugger Albert Pujols would come up shy of 700 career home runs, prompting speculation to surface that he could entertain returning for a 23rd season.
While Pujols has shot down the retirement speculation, there is an increasingly real chance that he’ll get to 700 home runs. On Thursday, in a rout of the Colorado Rockies, Pujols launched a pinch-hit grand slam into the left field bleachers. It was his 16th career grand slam – his first as a pinch-hitter, via ESPN – and placed him tied for 10th all-time in grand slams with Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Dave Kingman.
Pretty good company.
The decision to pinch hit Pujols came in the third inning with the Cardinals leading 6-0. Left-hander Austin Gomber, who was traded to the Rockies in the deal that brought Nolan Arenado to St. Louis, was on the mound. The logic, manager Oli Marmol said, was that Pujols has been “killing lefties.” So he went for the kill shot early in the game and Pujols once again came through.
With Pujols surging lately, and the Cardinals having 45 games to go, he has a real shot to eclipse one of the rarest feats in baseball history. And he’s doing it not just in a postseason race, with the team leading the National League Central by three games. But he’s doing it in the city in which he came up in and grew into a Hall of Famer.
It would be a storybook ending to a career that has been among baseball’s best. And a signing that many thought was based on nostalgia has proven to be one of president of baseball operations John Mozeliak’s best – and could help lead the Cardinals not only to the postseason, but to a chance at the World Series.