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 Twins’ Ervin Santana.
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).