The Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols is one of baseball’s all-time greatest hitters. He’s had a couple slow years since joining the Angels after spending 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he proved that he is still one of baseball’s best Tuesday when the Angels took on the Washington Nationals. The Angels won the game by a score of 7-2.
Of course their win was not the story of the night. The night was all about Pujols. He became the first player in Major League Baseball history to hit home runs numbers 499 and 500 in the same game and also became a member of an elite club joined only by the best hitters ever to play the game. Members of the 500 home run club include names like Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Reggie Jackson and now Albert Pujols.
Pujols has had all eyes on his bat since he hit number 495 and the world was watching again Tuesday night as he hit number 499, a three-run shot in the top of the first off of Nationals’ pitcher Taylor Jordan. He connected off of Jordan again in the fifth inning for two-run shot to left center that forever etched his name into history. Pujols took it in stride saying after the game,
“It tastes better with a win, I knew this year, it was going to happen, whether it was tonight, tomorrow, two months from now. So my goal was just to prepare myself every day to try to help this organization win.
He did admit to being “pretty emotional” as he rounded the bases. Upon touching home plate he was surrounded and smothered by his teammates with congratulations (after the the Angels’ win they also doused him with Gatorade). He received an ovation from the Nationals’ fans who even called for a curtain call. A very fortunate Angels fan named Tom Scherill, who happened to be in attendance at Nationals Park to witness the historic home run, caught the home run ball and returned it to Pujols after the game. Later Pujols sent a tweet to his fans everywhere saying,
Thank you to all of my fans for the well wishes on my HR#500. I thank The Lord for you, & your support over the years. May God bless you all
— Albert Pujols (@PujolsFive) April 23, 2014
Pujols became just the 26th member of the 500 home run club and the third youngest to ever reach it. Pujols is 34 while only Alex Rodriguez and Foxx were younger making the club at age 32. That’s a pretty huge accomplishment which the Angels’ slugger did not take for granted,
“To have more than 19,000 players who wore a big league uniform and to have only 26 players to do this, it’s pretty special.”
Yes, it was indeed a very special night for Pujols and for the game of baseball.