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Albert Pujols chases 700 homers: Tracking the Cardinals legend’s quest for Alex Rodriguez, exclusive club

The 42-year-old stoking excitement for a house run chase in 2022 last led MLB in long balls and last won MVP in 2009, when his St. Louis Cardinals made a splashy deadline trade for Matt Holliday, whose son was just the No. 1 pick in the July draft.

When Albert Pujols rejoined the Cardinals for a farewell tour in 2022, he was sitting on 679 career homers. He hadnt been an above-average hitter in a season since 2016, couldnt play the field and didnt hit right-handers sufficiently to bat regularly for a team with playoff aspirations. However the too-cute-to-work reunion with the Cardinals spent some time working, due to course it has, and today hes been a spark plug for the teams rise to the the surface of the NL Central.

After belting two homers in a casino game against Arizona earlier in August weekend, the impossible-seeming run at 700 definitively converted into a genuine possibility.

It had seemed impossible because his trendline had way back when turned south.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 22: Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his solo home run during the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 22, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

St. Louis’ Albert Pujols celebrates his solo home run through the seventh inning contrary to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

We prefer to say whos on pace for history, whos got the trajectory of an all-time leader. But divide the all-time home run list into age brackets and youll see were fooling ourselves. The leaders through age 30 are Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Jimmie Foxx and Pujols, who had an impressive 408 by the finish of 2010. The leaders from age 31 on are Barry Bonds, Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth, the only real members of the elusive 700-homer club Pujols is wanting to join. Each of them hit more after 31 than before.

Pujols never really had that type of pace in his 30s. After notching 32 or even more homers each year with the Cardinals, he managed it only one time with the Angels (40 in 2015). For the latter section of his tenure with the Angels, the question of homer history was secondary to the question of just how much longer he could stand to venture out there. He struggled to perform or play the field due to repeated foot and leg problems; the team kept disappointing; his batting line kept sinking. At one point his (less acclaimed) stature as a 100 WAR player slipped away because he was accumulating negative value.

But Pujols kept playing, seemingly getting a second wind with the Dodgers after parting ways with the Angels this past year. Kept increasing to bat and attempting to tap into a small amount of the magic. And at the very least for now, he’s got found it. His eight homers in a scorching August will be the most hes hit in virtually any month since June 2015 (when he hit 13). Hes batting over .400 because the All-Star break and winning at-bats against right-handers.

He needs two homers to tie, and three to pass Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the all-time homer list. With six more homers, hed reach that star that seemed so unreachable. Already, though, hes reclaimed our attention. A legend whose time had passed is once more the person of the hour.

Tracking Albert Pujols’ quest for 700 homers

Pujols happens to be at 694. He hit the newest one contrary to the Reds on Monday night.

Predictably, it came against a left-hander. He’s now smashed 11 of his 15 homers in 2022 off southpaws. That one came off Ross Detwiler. Along the way, Pujols set a fresh major league record by homering off the 450th different pitcher of his career, breaking a tie with Barry Bonds.

Another possibility to face a left-handed starter will probably come Wednesday contrary to the Reds’ Mike Minor. Pujols has faced him 23 times, but never homered. He’ll also get a lot of chances while watching home fans early in September. The Cardinals play 14 of these first 17 September games in St. Louis.

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