Albert Pujols Hits 702nd Career Home Run

Albert Pujols smacking his way closer to Babe Ruth numbers…

The 42-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball player and designated hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals hit his 702nd career home run in the third inning of Sunday’s 7-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis.

Albert Pujols

Pujols drove an 0-1 pitch from Roansy Contreras deep to center for a solo shot.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762). The slugger has 23 homers in what he says will be his final season.

Pujols hit a two-run double in the first inning. He has 2,214 career RBIs, which ranks second all time behind Aaron’s 2,297; Ruth unofficially drove in 2,214 runs as well but many were not counted because the statistic was not recognized by baseball until 1920.

“He continues to just wow everybody,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “That was no different.”

Pujols and catcher Yadier Molina, who also is retiring, were honored in a 46-minute ceremony before their final regular-season home game.

The pair was given gifts from the team, including a set of golf clubs, a silver plate and one-of-a-kind artist drawings of each player. The two have a combined 41 years in the majors. Former teammates Matt Holliday, Ray Lankford and Jason Isringhausen were present for the ceremony.

Pujols called it “pretty awesome” and “a great day.”

“I’m really blessed to be back here,” said Pujols, who has 468 homers with the Cardinals. “To finish my career where everything started, it means a lot.”

Sunday marked the last game Adam Wainwright, Pujols and Molina will appear together as Cardinals teammates. The trio had its first game together on September 11, 2005. According to the Elias Sports Bureau research, it’s the first trio in Major League Baseball history to have its first game and final game together be more than 6,000 days apart.

Molina, Pujols and Wainwright were all removed from the game together so they could walk off as a trio with two outs in the fifth. Wainwright (11-12), who allowed six runs on six hits over 4⅔ innings, has yet to decide if he will come back next season.

“Great emotional day for me,” Molina said. “Just to walk with Albert, Waino, it was a great moment for baseball.”

Marmol planned it: “We wanted all three of them to walk off together. Not a bad way to go out.”

Pujols began his career with St. Louis in 2001 and left for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012. He signed a free-agent contract with the Cardinals on March 28.

The Cardinals, who have clinched their fifth National League Central title in the past 10 years, closed the home portion of their regular season schedule with 26 wins in their last 34 games at Busch Stadium.

Albert Pujols Hits 701st Career Home Run Against Pittsburgh Pirates

The hits keep on comin’ for Albert Pujols

The 42-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball player and designated hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals has hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night in a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Albert Pujols Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium, his 22nd homer of the season. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he has homered against.

“It was a good pitch to hit and I just put the best swing on the night on it,” Pujols said. “That was it. A 1-2 count, just not trying to do too much.”

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Pujols said. “I didn’t know it was going to be like this. It’s pretty good just to be embraced like this. I mean this is what I’ve been getting all year long but today was extra special. It was a great night overall.”

Before the game, the slugger was recognized for hitting his 700th last week at Los Angeles. He was given a gold-plated, engraved bat by owner Bill DeWitt Jr., team president Bill DeWitt III and manager Oliver Marmol.

Pujols’ homer was his 55th against the Pirates, his third most against any team, trailing Houston Astros (70) and the Chicago Cubs (62).

Pirates manager Derek Shelton took a moment to appreciate Pujols’ accomplishments.

“I think we’re seeing one of the best hitters of our generation and he’s had an unbelievable second half,” Shelton said. “You cannot make mistakes to him right now. We made the one mistake to him and he hit it out of the ballpark. What he’s done over the course of his career and especially what he’s done over the second half is extremely special.”

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

Albert Pujols to Participate in This Year’s MLB All-Star Game

Albert Pujols is getting another All-Star moment…

The 42-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals will take part in the 2022 MLB All-Star Game, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has announced.

Albert PujolsBut he isn’t the only living baseball legend getting called up…

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers will also participate.

Pujols, Cabrera and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron are the only players in MLB history to register 3,000 hits, 500 home runs and 600 doubles.

“I am delighted that Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera have agreed to participate in the All-Star Game,” Manfred said in a statement. “Albert and Miguel are two of the most accomplished players of their generation. They have also represented the baseball traditions of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela with excellence for the last two decades. Albert and Miguel are two all-time greats whose achievements warrant this special recognition.”

It’s the 11th MLB All-Star selection for Pujols, who is in his 22nd MLB season. He ranks fifth in MLB history with 683 home runs and ninth with 3,326 career hits.

“If there is one game for the fans to celebrate the history and longevity, it’s the All-Star Game,” said Chicago White Sox manager Tony LaRussa, who was Pujols’ manager in St. Louis for seven years. “Anything like that [being selected to participate in the All-Star Game], I’m all in favor of.”

Cabrera, 39, reached 3,000 career hits earlier this season. He’ll be appearing in his 12th All-Star Game.

The slugger called Pujols “one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“To be part of this together is going to be great,” he said Friday.

The All-Star Game will be held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 19.

Miguel Cabrera Becomes First Venezuelan Baseball Player to Join MLB’s 3,000-Hit Club

Miguel Cabrera makes Venezuelan MLB History while joining a new elite club…

With a single against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday, the 39-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and Detroit Tigers designated hitter became the 33rd member of the 3,000-hit club and only the seventh player in major league history to achieve the milestone and hit 500 home runs.

Miguel CabreraHe got No. 3,000 in the first inning against pitcher Antonio Senzatela, a fellow Venezuelan, by grounding an opposite-field single to right field.

Cabrera immediately raised his right arm as he headed toward first base.

The crowd of 37,566 at Comerica Park gave him a rousing ovation and chanted “Miggy! Miggy!” while fireworks were shot out of the scoreboard. Rockies shortstop Jose Iglesias, who played with Cabrera on the Tigers team, came over to give his former teammate a big hug.

By then, all the Tigers were streaming from the dugout to greet the newest member of baseball’s elite 3,000-hit club. Moments later, Cabrera went behind home plate to embrace his mother, wife, son and daughter on the field.

“Special numbers,” Cabrera said after the game. “It’s like something crazy you can’t describe. To be in this position, I always say thank God for giving me this opportunity.”

Cabrera soon returned to first base but didn’t stay there long. He scored on a three-run homer by 22-year-old rookie Spencer Torkelson, who has taken over as the Tigers’ regular first baseman with Cabrera in the role of designated hitter.

When the inning ended, the scoreboard flashed “Congratulations Miggy” and Cabrera emerged from the dugout to wave to fans who had been rewarded with the highlight they came to see.

“It brings a lot of memories from the first time I was here in Detroit,” Cabrera said of the crowd. “I remember we always had 35,000, 40,000 people every night. It was good to see the fans come back to the stadium like that. It was very emotional. I know what the fans mean to our games and to our team because they support us a lot. I really happy to see all the fans.”

Cabrera added a two-run single in the sixth inning before being replaced by pinch runner Eric Haase. The Tigers went on to win 13-0. Cabrera said it meant “a lot” for him to reach the milestone in a win.

“Because I always say, if we’re winning, I know the results are going to be good,” he said. “We did it today, I’m pretty happy.

After reaching 2,999 hits Wednesday, Cabrera was 0-for-3 on Thursday against the New York Yankees. He was intentionally walked in the eighth inning, his fourth and final plate appearance of the game. Cabrera’s pursuit of history was delayed Friday, as the Tigers’ scheduled series opener against the Rockies was rained out, made up as part of a Saturday doubleheader.

Cabrera is the first Venezuelan-born player and seventh Latino to reach the 3,000-hit mark, a list that includes Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Rod Carew as well as Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre and Albert Pujols. Luis Aparicio, the only Venezuelan-born player in the Hall of Fame, had 2,677 career hits.

“When you’re going through it, you’ve got to kind of try to appreciate it because his impact is so big across this organization and across so many players, that we just got to sit back and soak it up,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “And I think for him as a person, as a player who’s gone through ups, downs, everywhere in between. This is certainly a highlight.”

Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown and the first of back-to-back MVP awards in 2012, became the 28th member of the 500-home run club in August. Only six other players have 3,000 hits and 500 homers: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Palmeiro, Pujols, Rodriguez and Eddie Murray.

Cabrera’s Triple Crown win in 2012, having led the American League in batting average, home runs and RBIs, was the first in 45 years. The 11-time MLB All-Star has won four batting titles in his career.

Cabrera was 20 years old when he made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut with the Miami Marlins in 2003. He helped them win the World Series that year.

The Tigers acquired Cabrera in a 2007 trade, with Dontrelle Willis also going to Detroit in a deal for Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. Cabrera had 842 hits at the time.

He is the third player to get his 3,000th hit while with Detroit, joining Ty Cobb and Al Kaline.

Jorge Soler Agrees to Thee-Year, $36 Million Contract with Miami Marlins

Jorge Soler is headed to the Sunshine State

The 30-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder and the Miami Marlins have agreed on a three-year, $36 million contract, according to ESPN.

Jorge SolerSoler’s deal includes opt-outs after the first two seasons, sources said. If he opts out, Soler would hit free agency again at age 31 next winter.

A bit player during the Chicago Cubs‘ drought-smashing victory over Cleveland five years ago, Soler was voted MVP of the Atlanta Braves‘ six-game World Series win over the Houston Astros. Soler hit .300 with three home runs and six RBIs.

Soler’s three World Series home runs matched the most for the Braves, equaling Hank Aaron in 1957, Lonnie Smith in 1991 and Ryan Klesko in 1995.

Marlins general manager Kim Ng said as Miami opened camp that the team had two needs: an outfielder — particularly a center fielder, which Soler hasn’t been, as he has primarily played right — and offense.

Soler does fit that bill. He has 121 home runs and 343 RBIs in 661 career games with the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago Cubs and the Braves. He led the American League with 48 homers in 2019, and hit 27 home runs in 149 games with the Royals and Braves last season.

Soler defected from Cuba in 2011, established residency in Haiti and made his big league debut in 2014.

MLB Network was first to report news of Soler’s agreement with Miami.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Becomes MLB’s Youngest Hank Aaron Award Winner

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is making MLB history…

The 22-year-old Dominican-Canadian professional baseball infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays has been named the winner of the 2021 American League Hank Aaron Award.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

He’s the youngest player to win the award, and only the fourth Blue Jay to receive the honor.

Guerrero hit .311/.401/.601 with 48 home runs, 111 RBIs, 123 runs scored and 363 total bases. He led MLB in runs and total bases, tied for the Major League Baseball lead in homers and paced the AL in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. Guerrero was also a first-time MLB All-Star in 2021.

“I’m very proud to be able to work hard and have my hard work shine through with an award like this,” Guerrero said on the MLB Network broadcast, via interpreter Alanna Rizzo. “I’m very proud and very happy.”

Bestowed annually since 1999, the Hank Aaron Award honors the best overall offensive performer in each league. Guerrero is the fifth Blue Jays hitter to win the award, and the first since Josh Donaldson in 2015. Bryce Harper received this year’s honor in the National League.

This year’s other AL finalists were Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, A’s first baseman Matt Olson, Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez.

The award is decided by a special panel of Hall of Fame players from a list of seven finalists in each league, which is determined by a panel of MLB.com writers. Each team submits a candidate.

Previously, Aaron helped select the panel of Hall of Famers who voted for the award winner. Aaron died in January at age 86. Aaron’s widow, Billye, spoke of her husband’s legacy on MLB Network’s announcement show.

“He did so much to enhance many causes,” Billye Aaron said. “We sat and talked about trying to help kids, who, like Henry was at the time, were trying to find themselves and follow their dreams.”

Said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred: “While Hank Aaron’s impact on the field was so significant we named an on-field achievement award after him, he was so much more than an all-time great baseball player. He was a successful baseball executive, businessman, social activist, philanthropist, baseball ambassador, role model and a loving husband and father.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Among the Finalists for the MLB’s Hank Aaron Award

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in the running for a coveted MLB award…

The 22-year-old Dominican-Canadian professional baseball player and designated hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays has been named a finalist for the Hank Aaron Award, the first since the legend’s death.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero is a finalist alongside Shohei Ohtani, Bryce HarperJuan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr.

The winners of the award, which was established in 1999 by Major League Baseball to honor the best offensive player in each league, will be announced in November.

Ohtani, the favorite for American League MVP, is the first player who also pitches ever nominated. In addition to Ohtani and Guerrero, New York’s Aaron Judge, Baltimore’s Cedric Mullins, Oakland’s Matt Olson, Kansas City’s Salvador Perez and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez are the American League nominees.

Joining Harper, Soto and Tatis in the National League are Cincinnati’s Nick Castellanos, San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford, Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman and St. Louis’ Paul Goldschmidt.

In a phone interview, Billye Aaron, who was married to Hank Aaron for 48 years, said her husband “was always very excited about the award itself and, of course, very excited about the World Series because, during that time, before every fourth game, he had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know and shake hands with the winners.”

The voting panel includes eight Hall of Fame players — including new voters Chipper Jones, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz — as well as a fan vote.

Aaron, MLB’s longtime home run king and one of the most beloved and respected players in the game’s history, died in his sleep in January.

“I’m still in a state of grief beyond measure,” Billye Aaron said. “I’m doing OK. I have some difficulty many days. But like everybody else, when you come to this stage in your life, you have to learn to cope with it. You can’t change it. You can’t do anything about God’s will. So you learn to accept it and learn to go on.

“I miss him so very, very much. I loved him so very, very much.”

Aaron, she said, would have been particularly excited for the NL Division Series that starts Friday between the two MLB teams for whom he played: the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. Aaron played his first 12 years for the Milwaukee Braves before they moved to Atlanta, where he spent nine seasons. A two-year stint with the Brewers wrapped up his career.

“He loved Milwaukee. He loved the Milwaukee Braves. He loved the Milwaukee Brewers,” Billye Aaron said. “And he loved, of course, the Atlanta Braves. He probably would’ve had some difficulty not rooting for both teams. The team that is your bread and butter — you probably would fall into that category. And being on the staff as well. So he probably would have to pull for Atlanta. But I know he had a strong fondness for the Milwaukee team.”

MLB intended to honor Aaron in Atlanta at July’s All-Star Game. Blowback from Georgia’s new voting-rights laws, however, prompted MLB to shift the game to Denver’s Coors Field, where Freeman and Judge escorted Billye Aaron onto the field for the ceremony that celebrated her husband.

While MLB weathered criticism for the choice, Billye Aaron said “it was the right thing for Major League Baseball to do.”

“In light of the political situation going on then and continuing to go on now,” she said, “the decision to move the All-Star Game out of the city of Atlanta, in spite of the impact that it would have on Atlanta and on the businesses that were preparing for the great game — I still think Major League Baseball did exactly what it needed to do in recognizing that racism can overrule some things.”

Chicago White Sox Star Jose Abreu Wins Hank Aaron Award

Jose Abreu is officially on of this year’s MLB stars…

The 33-year-old Cuban professional baseball player, a first baseman for the Chicago White Sox has won the Hank Aaron Award as the outstanding offensive performer in Major League Baseball’s American League, as voted by MLB.com.

Jose Abreu

Abreu, a three-time MLB All-Star, hit .317 with 15 doubles, 19 homers and 60 RBIs during 60 games in the pandemic-shortened season.

First basemen Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves won the Hank Aaron Award in the National League.

He was second in the NL in batting (.341), OBP (.462), slugging percentage (.640) and OPS (1.102).

“Congratulations to José Abreu and @FreddieFreeman5 on winning the 2020 A.L. And N.L. Hank Aaron Awards,” Aaron tweeted. “You are both so deserving and I’m proud of the season you both had.”

Abreu was voted AL MVP and Freeman won NL MVP.

Albert Pujols Stands Alone at No. 2 on MLB’s Career RBI List

Albert Pujols is standing alone at No. 2…

The 40-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, who tied Alex Rodriguez for second place on the Major League Baseball career RBI list last week, is now all alone in second place.

Albert Pujols

Pujols passed ARod on the list with an RBI single in the fifth inning of Monday night’s 11-4 loss to the Houston Astros in Houston. That gave him 2,087 career RBIs.

Hank Aaron is the record holder at 2,297.

Babe Ruth had 2,214 career RBIs, but he isn’t officially on the career list because RBIs didn’t become an official stat until 1920, per Elias Sports Bureau research.

Albert Pujols Ties for Second Place on MLB Career RBI List

Albert Pujols is batting his way into the annals of MLB history…

The 40-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels has tied Alex Rodriguez for second place on the Major League Baseball career RBI list.

Albert Pujols

Pujols tied ARod with a single in the sixth inning of the Angels’ game against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Pujols’ hit off Andrew Suarez drove in Anthony Rendon as part of the Angels’ two-run inning. It’s the 2,086th RBI of Pujols’ career.

He’s now 211 RBIs away from tying former home run king Hank Aaron, who holds the record with 2,297.

Pujols remains one home run shy of 660 for his career, which would tie him with Willie Mays for fifth.

The Angels would go on to lose 7-2 for their sixth defeat in seven games. At 8-17, they are off to their worst 25-game start in franchise history.