Los Angeles Angels Star Albert Pujols Becomes Ninth Player to Hit 600 Home Runs

Albert Pujols has joined an elite squad…

The 37-year-old Dominican baseball star, an infielder for the Los Angeles Angels, on Saturday became the ninth Major League Baseball player to hit 600 home runs when he hit a grand slam off the Minnesota TwinsErvin Santana.

Albert Pujols

Pujols is the only player whose 600th home run was a grand slam.

The Angels designated hitter is the first player to reach 600 home runs since Jim Thome in 2011. The six-year gap between Thome’s and Pujols’ reaching the mark is the longest between players reaching 600 home runs since the 31-year gap between Hank Aaron (April 1971) and Barry Bonds (August 2002).

Among hitters with 600 home runs, only Babe Ruth (.342) had a higher career batting average than Pujols’ current .308 career mark.

Only Willie Mays and Aaron had more at-bats at the time of their 600th home runs than Pujols’ current total of 9,341.

Pujols’ overall accomplishments have been reflected in the three MLB MVP Awards he has won.

With his 600th home run, he joined Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in major league history with three MVP Awards and 600 home runs.

Pujols (37 years, 138 days) is the fourth-youngest player to reach 600 home runs, behind Rodriguez (35 years, eight days), Ruth (36 years, 196 days) and Aaron (37 years, 81 days).

Pujols ranks second in St. Louis Cardinals history with 445 home runs, trailing Hall of Famer Stan Musial (475). They’re the only two players in Cardinals history who hit more than 300 home runs, and Pujols hit his in half as many seasons with the Cardinals as Musial. They both won three MVPs in Cardinals uniforms.

Pujols is the second player born outside of the United States to hit 600 homers. The other was Sammy Sosa, who had 609. Four of the five top non-U.S.-born home run hitters were from the Dominican Republic (Sosa, Pujols, Manny Ramírez with 555 and David Ortiz with 541). Cuban-born Rafael Palmeiro has the third-most home runs hit by a non-U.S.-born player, with 569.

Saturday’s home run was Pujols’ 78th at Angel Stadium, which ranks third for ballparks at which he has homered. The leaders are Busch Stadium (110) and Busch Stadium II (94).

Molina Agrees to Three-Year, $60 Million Extension with St. Louis Cardinals

Yadier Molina is embracing the spirit of St. Louis for longer…

The 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball catcher has agreed to a three-year, $60 million extension with the St. Louis Cardinals, the multiple Gold Glove winner told ESPN.

Yadier Molina

The Cardinals have scheduled a 2 p.m. ET media conference Sunday at Busch Stadium, presumably to discuss Molina’s contract extension.

The deal will keep Molina in St. Louis through at least 2020.

General manager John Mozeliak said Friday that he was optimistic a deal would get done by the first pitch of the Cardinals’ Sunday Night Baseball game against the World Series champion Chicago Cubs, scheduled for 8:35 p.m. ET.

Mozeliak said over the past few days that he worried Molina’s contract extension could be a distraction if it wasn’t taken care of by Sunday.

Molina’s current contract, signed ahead of the 2012 season, contained a mutual $15 million option for 2018 with a $2 million buyout.

His strong play for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, coupled with his hot hitting following the 2016 All-Star break and his comments after returning from the competition, had put pressure on the Cardinals to get a deal done as quickly as possible.

Molina’s biggest impact to the Cardinals over the years has been in run prevention. He became the full-time starter in 2005 and made seven All-Star teams while winning eight Gold Gloves.

Just when his hitting seemed to be in serious decline, Molina, 34, batted .365 with a .926 OPS following last season’s All-Star break.