Welcome to the Club
Albert Pujols – who suits up for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and is playing in his 17th Major League Baseball season – is on track to hit 600 career home runs, a feat so rare only eight players have eclipsed this mark in MLB history. How did the slugger get to this point? Let’s take a look back at his hard-hitting career.
Ripping Home Runs
Albert Pujols, who hails from the Dominican Republic, was drafted in the 13th round of the 1999 MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and made his debut in the Majors on April 2, 2001. He wasted exactly zero time fine-tuning himself into the baseball great he was destined to be, batting .329 his rookie season, lofting 37 home runs, and netting the Rookie of the Year award, a Silver Slugger award, and an All-Star appearance.
He didn’t slow down after that stellar rookie campaign, though, and continued to rock his batting average (over .300 for his first 10 seasons), RBI rate (over 100 during the same time span), and an incredible home run rate (hitting more than 40 long balls six different times during his first 10 seasons). He hit a National League-high 47 home runs in 2009 and again in 2010 with 42, and helped lead the Cardinals to World Series championships in 2006 and 2011.
After the 2011 season, he headed west to play for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and while his numbers haven’t always been what they were during his career with the Cardinals, he’s shown he’s still capable of smacking homers. In fact, in 2015, he again went yard 40 times while maintaining a .244 batting average.
As the seasons went by, his home run numbers, of course, continued to climb. By the end of 2003, he had already topped over 100 after only three seasons of play, and by 2005, he was at 201. In 2006, he launched 49 homers, bumping him up to a solid 250, and conquered 300 just a couple of years later.
In 2010, he hit the 400 mark, and in 2014, he joined the 500 club – a huge accomplishment in and of itself, as only 26 other players in MLB history have hit 500 (or more) home runs. This exclusive list includes Hall-of-Fame legends Reggie Jackson, Ernie Banks, and Mickey Mantle.
Now, just a few seasons later in 2017, he’s breaking that 600 homer barrier. Others who have accomplished this goal are Alex Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630), Jim Thome (612), and Sammy Sosa (609).
Welcome to the 600 club, Albert Pujols.
Whether you’ve been a fan of Pujols since his days as a Cardinal or are loving his play for the Angels, head over to Fanatics to get your Pujols gear and celebrate his inclusion as one of baseball’s best sluggers.