4. Albert Pujols signing (2022)
Albert Pujols was the engine powering the St. Louis Cardinals' offense from 2001 to 2011, and after he didn't re-sign with the Cardinals following the 2011 World Series win, fans were livid. But after a decade of relative mediocrity from Pujols with the Los Angeles Angels, many Cardinals fans' hearts had softened. A half-season in 2021 with the Los Angeles Dodgers revitalized Pujols, and when he reached free agency after that season, the Cardinals decided to embark on a reunion that would capture Cardinals fans' hearts and captivate those around the baseball world.
The majority of Cardinals supporters were overjoyed to have Pujols back, even though he was far past his prime. A few people (like me) saw it in a more negative light, believing Pujols would be a hindrance to the team and was only signed as nostalgia bait.
In the first half of the season, Pujols hit only .215. Despite his subpar performance, fans flocked to the gates and roared in appreciation anytime he'd come up to bat. The second half was magical, though, as Pujols provided actual production and thump in the lineup. He hit .323 from July 23 through the end of the season, but the biggest attraction was the emergence of his quest for 700 home runs, previously thought of as a long shot.
Although Pujols' 700th home run was fairly anticlimactic, occurring at Dodger Stadium and on national television instead of a Cardinals broadcast, the event was still widely celebrated. While Pujols didn't provide quite as much on-field production as some players lower on this list, the effect he had on St. Louis and on baseball in 2022 is impossible to overstate.