Albert Pujols becomes fourth player in MLB history to hit 700 home runs

Albert Pujols becomes fourth player in MLB history to hit 700 home runs
The Dominican born joined Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth on 23 September. The only other player in professional baseball in that category is World Home Run King Sadaharu Oh.

Albert Pujols became just the fourth player in Major League Baseball (MLB) history to reach the 700-home run milestone.

Pujols hit his 699th and 700th home run in consecutive at-bats at Dodger Stadium in a St. Louis Cardinals 11-0 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers on 23 September.

Pujols, 42, played the 2021 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers before moving to St. Louis to play for the Cardinals, the club he made his MLB debut in 2001, in what would be the final season of his career.

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Pujols emigrated to the US as a 16-year-old with his father, Bienvenido, a softball pitcher, and his grandmother.

After graduating from high school, he received a baseball scholarship from Maple Woods Community College in Missouri.

He went largely unnoticed in the 1999 MLB Draft. The St. Louis Cardinals picked him in the 13th round, No. 402 overall. He signed for a US$ 10,000 bonus.

It may prove the best return on investment in the game's history. Pujols went from Single-A to Triple-A in his first professional season (2000), became the MLB Rookie of the Year in 2001 and led the Cardinals to a couple of World Series titles (2006, 2011).

After the 2011 season, Pujols signed a 10-year contract worth US$ 254 million with the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels designated him for assignment on 6 May 2021.

Only three other players in MLB history have reached the 700- home-run milestone: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

Bonds hit his 700th home run on 17 September 2004 at 40 in a San Francisco Giants uniform. He retired after the 2007 season.

Aaron (1934-2021) reached the milestone on 21 July 1975 at 41. He was playing his last season for the Atlanta Braves. He would retire after playing two more seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Ruth (1895-1948) hit his 700th on 13 July 1934 at 39. He was playing his last season for the New York Yankees and would retire after playing the 1935 season for the Boston Braves.

The only other hitter to reach the 700 home run milestone in professional baseball is Sadaharu Oh, the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) home run leader. He passed the milestone on 23 July 1976 at 36.

Oh has been the World Home Run King since he passed Hank Aaron 755 on 3 September 1977. Oh hit his 800th home run on 30 August 1978 and reached a career total of 868. He retired after the 1980 season at 40. Oh has only played for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants.

Both Albert Pujols and Sadaharu Oh participated in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. Pujols played for the Dominican Republic, while Oh managed Japan to the first of two World Baseball Classic titles.

Cover Photo: C/O MLB