Pujols Homers Passing Mays for Fifth All-Timeby B.J. Martin September 19, 2020 0 comments
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols launched a solo home run off rookie Wes Benjamin in the fifth inning of Friday evening’s series opener against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium Friday night. The home run down the left field line extended the Angels lead to 2-0 over Texas. More importantly, the home run was of historical significance as it was the 661st of Pujols’s career moving him into sole position of fifth on the all-time home run list.
Into the Top Five
The home run, Pujols fifth of the season moved him past the legendary Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays for fifth all-time. Pujols tied Mays at 660 last weekend in Colorado ending a month-long home run drought. Mays, still considered by many as one of the greatest to ever play the game of baseball, was third all-time behind only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron until the steroid era unfortunately tainted others in climbing to the top of the list. Pujols, untainted by any such suspicions joins Aaron, Ruth, and Mays among the most illustrious sluggers in baseball history.
Pujols is now ahead of Willie Mays at 661 home runs, trailing only four other players with more home runs. Mays hit his 660th and final career home run at 42-years old with the New York Mets in 1973. Mays compiled his home runs across 10,881 at-bats compared to Albert Pujols 10,804 at-bats to date. Pujols averaging a home run every 16.36 at-bats to Mays hitting a homer once every 16.49 at-bats.
Next on the List
Alex Rodriguez is next on the list, 35 homers away with 696 home runs. Third on the list is the immortal Babe at 714, second is Aaron with 755, and first, Barry Bonds’ 762 home runs. The forty-year-old Pujols has one more season remaining on his 10-year contract with the Angels. That is followed by an additional 10-year personal services contract with the club. Pujols’s chances to reach the 700 home run plateau within his current agreement weren’t helped by the abbreviated 2020 season. Don’t be surprised if Pujols produces well in 2021 that the Angels consider bringing him back in a part-time role in 2022.
The three-time Most Valuable Player Pujols now ranks fifth all-time in categories of home runs, doubles, extra-base hits, and total bases in addition to ranking third in runs batted in, and 15th in career hits. Pujols will undoubtedly go into the National Baseball Hall of Fame when he finally appears on the ballot five years following his retirement. While Pujols’s loyalty currently lies with the Angels, he will surely go into Cooperstown with a St. Louis Cardinals cap on his plaque for the hall. Pujols won all three of his MVP awards and spent the prime of his career with the Cardinals accumulating 445 of his 661 home runs with St. Louis.
Hall of Fame Awaits
While the future Hall of Fame status remains in question for suspected and proven steroid users Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez respectively, Pujols has played the majority of his MLB career during the testing era without any credible suspicion of PED use. Pujols would join Mays, Ruth, and Aaron as the top home run hitters in Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images