A true Cardinals legend, Albert Pujols is just one home run away from joining the 600 club.
After smashing a towering three-run blast off the one and only Bartolo Colon, Albert Pujols moved himself just one bomb away from history. With as hot as he has been lately, do not be shocked to see number 600 come in the next couple days.
— MLB (@MLB) May 31, 2017
For those who are uninformed on the matter, I would like to write a few words regarding the magnitude of this achievement. After he inevitably drops dinger 600, Pujols will join perhaps the most elite historical club baseball has to offer. He will be the 9th player to reach such a milestone. The list contains the following players: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, and Sammy Sosa. After supplying that list of legends, there is not much else to say. Albert Pujols is certainly already a legend. This, however, absolutely cements his legacy as such.
Life as an Angel
Ok, to back up a little – how has Pujols done since he left the Cardinals after the 2011 season? In 6 seasons for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Pujols has slashed .265/.323/.469, hitting 153 home runs along the way. In the previous 11 seasons for the Cardinals, he slashed a ridiculous .328/.420/.617, smashing 445 home runs and driving in 1329 runs. Furthermore, Pujols contributed to 2 world series titles, won 3 MVPs, and brought home 6 silver slugger awards. Needless to say after looking at this juxtaposition, Pujols made his name with the Cardinals.
The previous point is obvious. Why, then, is it necessary to bring up? In making that point, it becomes apparent, nearly objective, that Pujols is, and will always be, a Cardinal. After all, he will have hit 74% of his 600 home runs for the Red Birds when the time comes.
Oftentimes, a player’s exit brings on envy, resentment, or other negative emotions from fans. It is very understandable given the emotional attachment and loyalty often created from a legendary franchise player. Sometimes, such players even earn loud “boos” upon returning to their former club.
Forever a Cardinal
While I understand there is mostly love in St. Louis for Pujols, I think the following point is still greatly relevant. Despite wearing an Angels jersey for this fantastic milestone, fans in St. Louis should feel proud and ecstatic as if he were still a Cardinal. Pujols is the epitome of a “class-act,” respecting the game, fans, and teammates no matter where he finds himself playing. He has steered clear of distractions and negative press, giving back to the community in extraordinary ways. His legacy will reside 95% with the Cardinals, and it is likely that the great #5 will one day be retired in Busch Stadium.
Put simply, get excited Cardinals fans. We are about to be privileged with a historic event, a truly special moment for one of the most special Cardinals we will ever see. After bringing so much joy and entertainment to all who love the Red Birds, it is only right to stand up, to respect and praise such a special accomplishment.
I think it is safe to say that most, if not all fans, love the great #5. Whenever the next home run comes, then, remember all the “oohs” and “ahhs,” the rings, the trophies, and the sheer disbelief from watching his greatness. He will be remembered as a Cardinal, so please recognize this feat as such.
While #600 may come for Anaheim, it is rooted in St. Louis.