In case you missed it on Sunday, Albert Pujols reached another milestone in his glorious career. His go-ahead home run in the eighth inning not only gave the Angels a win in Colorado, but tied Pujols with inner-circle Hall of Famer and baseball royalty Willie Mays with 660 home runs.
Pujols is no longer what he once was as a player, but his career as a whole is still one of the best in baseball history. Like Mays, Pujols will be an easy first-ballot Hall of Famer five years after he retires.
“It was almost like a walk-off reaction, when he hit it. Everybody was thrilled for him,” manager Joe Maddon said after Sunday’s game. “You’re just happy for the moment for him.”
Pujols at the moment ranks:
- third all-time in RBI (2,097)
- tied for fifth in home runs (660)
- fifth in doubles (669)
- fifth in total bases (5,911)
Pujols savored his place in history on Sunday. From Mike DiGiovanna at the Los Angeles Times:
“Legend,” Pujols said, when asked what Mays means to him. “It’s something you dream about. … it’s amazing to have my name in the same sentence as Willie Mays. It’s just unbelievable, really humbling. It’s something I’m gonna tell my kids, my grandkids.”
Pujols received encouragement from Mays recently, per Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic:
Pujols reached the brink of this historic moment with an Aug. 4 home run that skied into the left-field bullpens at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park for home run No. 659. More than a week later, the Angels were set to face the Giants in San Francisco when Pujols received a text. It was from Mays.
“It’s your time now,” the message read. “Go get it.”
Pujols went six weeks in between home runs 659 and 660, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register:
While he had struggled to get the homer to equal Mays, Pujols had nonetheless hit .253 during the drought.
“If I would have been thinking about it, I would have been hitting a bunch of ground balls and striking out,” Pujols said. “I am just trying to put a good swing on the ball. I knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of time.”