Why Albert Pujols let two Pirates fans keep 697th home run ball, which passed Alex Rodriguez on all-time list

Kevin Skiver

Kevin Skiver

www.sportingnews.com

Albert Pujols made MLB history Sunday, when he hit the 697th home run of his career to officially pass Alex Rodriguez and move into fourth all-time behind Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds.

The Machine barreled up a high fastball from Pirates reliever Chase De Jong and drove it to right-center field at PNC Park. The homer leaves him just three shy of No. 700 with 21 games left in the season.

After Pujols hit his homer, the camera hovered on the bleachers just long enough to show a scrum to come up with historic ball.

In the more immediate term, the two-run blast came in the top of the ninth inning and gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead, which they would hold onto for the win.

MORE:Β Tracking Albert Pujols’ chances of reaching 700 home runs

As it turned out, the ball was recovered by Matt and Samantha Brown, a pair of Pirates fans. According to Cardinals beat writer Jeff Jones, Samantha’s father died a year ago Sunday. The duo met with Pujols after the game to give him the ball. Instead, Pujols told them to keep it and gave them two more signed ones, per Jones. Quite a gesture of goodwill given the significance of that ball in the annals of MLB history.

How close is Albert Pujols to 700 home runs?

700 home runs for Pujols seemed like a ridiculous feat heading into this year. He was sitting at 679 and had hit just 12 homers last season with the Dodgers.

Pujols now has 697 career home runs, good for fourth all-time. He has 18 homers this year, including 12 in the 37 games since the All-Star break.

Still, Pujols has made it abundantly clear he plans to retire after this season, regardless of where he stands in the chase to become the fourth player to hit 700. Miguel Cabrera is the only active player over 500 home runs at 506.

Pujols is hoping to be part of a playoff run for the NL Central-leading Cardinals in his final season, and in the postseason he could well be a legitimate platoon threat against left-handed pitching. Oliver Marmol has shown a lot of confidence in him thus far. It’s hard to imagine that changing down the stretch.

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Albert Pujols Ranks 4th All-time on MLB HR List

Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols set another milestone on Sunday hitting his 697th home run, ranking him fourth on the all-time list of home run hitters. Future baseball Hall of Famer Albert Pujols set another milestone on Sunday hitting his 697th home run, ranking him fourth on the all-time […]

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