Will Pujols Reach 700?

Max Lipe '23, Editor

Coming into the 2022 season the Cardinals were loaded with storylines, none larger than the return of Albert Pujols. Many expected this reunion to be a ceremonial farewell to the Cardinal great, who’s production had fallen off dramatically in recent years. The best player in the first decade of the millennium was riding into the sunset. Adding to the nostalgia was Pujols reuniting with old pals Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina – both stating their intentions to retire at the end of the year.

The first half of the season followed expectations…then came the All Star break.  

Since July 19, Pujols has been one of the most lethal hitters in all of Major League Baseball. At the tender age of 42, Albert seems to have built himself a time machine, playing at a level not seen since his MVP caliber seasons. Many believe his participation in the home-run derby to be a catalyst for this unexpected surge of greatness. In the second half of the season, the 42-year-old is hitting .343, slugging .748, and has recorded 12 bombs. Several of these homers have come in big moments such as late inning jacks against the Cubs and Pirates in recent weeks. Pujols currently sits at 697 career home runs, most recently surpassing Alex Rodriguez’s number of 696 for fourth on the all-time leaderboard. This unexpected arrival of vintage Pujols only helps an already dominant Cardinals team sitting 25 games over .500. 

This unlikely resurgence has caught the attention of almost everyone in St. Louis, as there hasn’t been a buzz around the city like this since Mark McGwire’s push for the single season home run record in 1998. With 21 games left to play and 3 home runs needed to eclipse the 700 mark, Pujols is not far out from reaching this milestone which seemed impossible to achieve at the start of the season. This last stretch of Cardinal baseball will certainly be exciting.