Home Run Against St. Louis Cardinals Special For Albert Pujols, For 30 Reasons

Albert Pujols, the former St. Louis Cardinal, came into last night’s game with 566 home runs. Today, that number is 567. And while it was his first home run against the Cardinals, with whom he played for 11 years (2001-2011), it was special for another reason. As Yahoo Sports first reported, his home run last night now means that Pujols has homered against every major league team — a rare accomplishment in Major Baseball.

The smash came in a slugfest between the visiting Cardinals and the Los Angeles Angels, Pujols’ team since 2012. St. Louis was winning 12-8 when Pujols came up to bat against Cardinals pitcher Seth Maness. On a 1-1 count, Pujols drove the ball to deep left-center field — but it was going to be close, as center fielder Randall Grichuk speedily chased after it, and leaped at the wall to catch it, and the video (below) shows that he came very close to robbing Pujols. But the end result was career home run number 567 for the likely future Hall of Famer.

Pujols’ two-run shot was the final scoring of the game, which ended in a 12-10 victory for the Cardinals, who, at 19-16, are now in third place in the National League Central. The Angels, meanwhile, are a disappointing 13-21 and are last in the American League West, eight games behind the Seattle Mariners.

The Cardinals, with whom he parted amicably after the 2011 season, sent Pujols a congratulatory Tweet.

Where Albert Pujols Stands On the All-Time Home Run List

Pujols leads all active major leaguers with 567 home runs and at number 13 on the all-time list, except for New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez, who is fourth with 692. David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox is next, with 512, which places him in a three-way tie with Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews at number 22 on the all-time list.

Albert Pujols congratulated by teammates
Albert Pujols congratulated by teammates after his home run. [Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]

The Angels first baseman is now just two home runs short of Rafael Palmeiro, who has 569. If Pujols plays like he is capable of playing for the rest of the season, he should be able to pass Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who’s 586 home runs places him at ninth on the all-time leaders list.

The current leader in career home runs is Barry Bonds, with 762.

Whether or not Albert Pujols will catch Bonds, though, remains to be seen. Pujols is not the player he was with St. Louis, for whom he hit 445 home runs and averaged 0.328 with a 0.420 on-base percentage with a 0.617 slugging percentage, as calculated by Baseball Reference. By comparison, those numbers with the Angels are 0.262, 0.322, and 0.472, respectively.

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So far in 2016, Pujols, 36, has seven home runs, but he is only batting 0.194 with a low 0.372 slugging percentage. While he slugged 40 homers last year, he had a career-low 0.244 batting average.

Pujols signed a lucrative 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels in 2012, ending his tenure in St. Louis. The contract specifies that he will be paid $25 million this year, with a $1 million raise each year until 2021, when he will be paid $30 million at age 41, according to Spotrac.

While this is his fifth season in California, Pujols still shares a strong bond with his former Cardinals teammates.

“We are family,” Pujols told the St. Louis Dispatch prior to last night’s game.

“I will always root for Albert,” Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. “I want him to do good, no matter what, because he’s part of my family.”

What do you think? While Albert Pujols set a major milestone, can he reignite his career in Los Angeles?

[Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]