St. Louis Cardinals icon Albert Pujols finally reached the historical 700 home run milestone on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Entering his latest contest with the season approaching its end, Pujols elected to take a highly efficient and effective offensive approach with his home run total sitting at 698 — hitting two home runs in back-to-back at-bats at Dodger Stadium.
In the third inning against Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney, Pujols connected on his 699th career big fly, positioning him just one shy of the once-in-a-lifetime accolade to add to his resume in his final big league season.
Then in the fourth inning, his third at-bat of the contest, Pujols provided those in hopes of watching him reach the mark, a major sigh of relief. The 42-year-old took an 81 mph 1-1 pitch from Phil Bickford 398 feet to left field, giving him his 700th career home run and his 21st of his walk-off campaign.
Regardless of where Pujols’ 700-club chase stood by the end of the season, the 11-time All-Star had made his mind up that this season would be his only shot at it.
“I’m still going to retire, no matter whether I end up hitting 693, 696, 700, whatever,” Pujols told Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
With Pujols reaching No. 700, he became just the fourth player in the history of Major League Baseball to do so, joining Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants, 2004), Hank Aaron (Atlanta Braves, 1973), and Babe Ruth (New York Yankees, 1934).
Cardinals fans left biting their nails at the edge of their seats during his remaining games — now 10 after Friday — can rejoice and celebrate Pujols when he returns for his final homestand at Busch Stadium on Sept. 30.