Albert Pujols has had many great moments in his 17-year career. He is not one for celebrating personal milestones, but on June 3rd, 2017 Pujols permanently etched his name in the baseball legends category.
Albert Pujols hit his 599th home run on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 against the Atlanta Braves and the chase for 600 homers went up a couple of notches. For the next three games the crowd was on their feet every time Pujols came up to bat. Flashbulbs were popping everywhere (well now it was mostly flashes from digital phone cameras). However, the Machine could not deliver that magic hit.
On Saturday June 3rd, Pujols would again face the Minnesota Twins for the third straight day and he would face former Angel Ervin Santana. In the first inning Pujols would have a long at-bat against Santana until he finally worked a walk on a 3-2 pitch.
The Angels would fall behind early 1-0 as the Twins scored in the first inning. The Angels finally broke through in the third inning on back-to-back home runs by Andrelton Simmons and Kole Calhoun giving the Angels a 2-1 lead. Up came Pujols for a second time and again the fans rose to their feet in hopes of seeing history, but alas Pujols struck out. (Note: Mike Trout was on the disabled list at this time).
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In the bottom of the fourth Pujols would get another chance with two outs and the bases loaded with Angels. With the crowd in a frenzy of anticipation Pujols strode to the plate. Santana got ahead of Pujols quickly 1-2. Pujols then fouled a pitch off. Finally at 8:52 P.M. The Machine drove a 1-2 pitch by Santana to left field and it sailed over both bullpens into the seats as the 40,236 went crazy as Pujols rounded the bases as the 600 home run club got its ninth member.
Pujols was the first player to ever hit #600 with a grand slam. Less than a year later Pujols would become only the fourth player to hit 600 home runs and record 3,000 hits for his career. Albert Pujols did both and in an Angel uniform. Will he ever reach 700 home runs is anyone’s guess, but number 600 was his.
Pujols is the only Angel player ever to hit 600 home runs and only the second to reach 3,000 hits as an Angel with Rod Carew being the other. It was truly a special night for Pujols and for the fans in attendance a night they would never forget.