St. Louis Cardinals star Albert Pujols has been in the news recently as he hit his 700th home run. It came as he returned to his old team for one last hoorah in front of hordes of adoring fans. Prior to the start of the season, Pujols' wife confirmed that 2022 would indeed be his last season playing ball.
"Albert Pujols' wife, Deidre, says the 10x All-Star will retire following the 2021 season. Pujols will be entering his 21st season in the big leagues" - @ Bleacher Report
Now that Pujols is within 62 dingers of the record, fans have begun to wonder if he will stick around. Pujols signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals with the intention of finishing off his career where it started.
Albert Pujols was drafted in the 13th round of the MLB Entry Draft in 1999. In his rookie season in 2001, he hit 37 home runs and 130 RBIs to win the Rookie of the Year Award. He became the first Cardinal to win that recognition since Todd Worrell in 1986.
With three MVP Awards and a pair of World Series wins, Pujols left the Cards in 2011. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels and spent 10 seasons in the city playing for the Angels and the Dodgers. Unfortunately for him, he was plagued by injuries for most of the latter part of his career.
Before the 2022 season, Pujols signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals worth $2.5 million. It is largely understood that Pujols decided to return as an homage to fans who had supported him earlier in his career. Pujols entered the season with 679 career home runs and many expected him to reach the 700-mark this year.
"700 swings for 700 Albert Pujols homers." - @ MLB Vault
On Friday, September 23, Pujols hit that milestone. In front of fans of his former team at Dodger Stadium, Pujols lofted his 21st home run of the season.
As much as fans would love to see Pujols come back for 2023, it does not look like he will. Before hitting his 700th home run, Pujols told USA Today that his retirement was set in stone.
"I’m still going to retire, no matter whether I end up hitting 693, 696, 700, whatever," he said.
If we never see Pujols on the field again after this season, we can still be glad that he treated fans to history before he walked away.