On the same night that Aaron Judge bashed his 50th home run for the Yankees and Milwaukee rookie Garrett Mitchell mashed his first big league home run and received his big league curtain call, 42-year-old Albert Pujols smashed his 15th home run of the season and passed all-time HR leader Barry Bonds in the record books.
No, Pujols didn’t pass Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) or even Alex Rodriguez (696) on the all-time home run list, but he did pass the former San Fran slugger on another list when he tagged a tater off of Cincinnati left-hander Ross Detwiler on Monday night.
“I got ahead of him and was trying to go to a high fastball. I didn’t get it high enough, and it leaked out over the plate more than I wanted it to,” Detwiler said. “The ball jumps off his bat quite a bit.”
Detwiler is the 450th pitcher Pujols has hit a homer against in his career, one more pitcher than Bonds took deep over the course of his career. While perhaps not quite as impressive as the all-time HR record, the mark Pujols set last night is significant nonetheless as the 694th homer of his career and 15th of the season puts him just three away from passing Rodriguez on the all-time list and just six long bombs away from becoming the fourth player in MLB history to hit 700 dingers.
Pujols, who hit his first career home run in 2001 with the Cardinals, is going out with a bang in what will be his final season playing in the majors — whether he makes it to 700 home runs or not.
“That’s why I announced it in spring training because I knew that I was going to probably have decent success and I didn’t want to have in the back of my mind, ‘Oh, I want to play one more year.’ I’m done. So, no matter what, if I hit .300, 700 home runs, 699 home runs, it doesn’t matter. I’m through with it, you know?” he told The Wall Street Journal. “I’m just done,” he said in an interview last week. “I just don’t feel it in me anymore. You know what I mean? I don’t want to stick around just for the paycheck, man. That love and passion that I have, that I’ve had since I was 5 years old for this game, I don’t wanna ruin it for one more year or one more month. So that’s why I decided it.”