Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hit two home runs in his team's 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on April 22 to join the prestigious 500-home run club.
Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is now a member of the 500-home run club.
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According to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, Pujols is the first member of the 26-member club to hit his 499th and 500th home run in the same game. In Pujols' case, it was in a 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on April 22:
"Albert Pujols joined the rarest of clubs on Tuesday, and accomplished some unprecedented history in the process.
"The Angels' first baseman homered twice at Nationals Park to become the 26th member of the exclusive 500-home run club. Among those 26, he's the first to hit Nos. 499 and 500 in the same game.
"In the first, Pujols crushed a 1-1 changeup from right-hander Taylor Jordan well over the fence in left field for a a three-run homer that gave his team the early lead.
"In the fith, he took a 1-2 sinker from Jordan and lined one to left-center field, just to the right of the Angels' bullpen, to give the Angels a 6-2 advantage.
"Pujols remained stoic as he rounded the basis, clapped his hands twice and pointed his two index fingers to the sky just before he crossed home plate.
"There, he was greeted by hugs from all of his teammates and a standing ovation from the fans at Nationals Park -- the same place where he became the third-youngest player to reach 400 homers, on Aug. 26, 2010.
"Pujols then briefly came out of the dugout for a curtain call. No. 500 landed an estimated 430 feet from home plate.
"The fan who caught the ball, Tom Sherrill, is a resident of Pomona, Calif., a member of the United States Air Force, and an Angels fan.
"Pujols' wife, Deidre, planned to meet Pujols in New York for his pursuit of 500 homers, but also told him she'd fly to Washington, D.C. if he hit No. 499 before then. But 500 was followed up too quickly for her to land in the nation's capital."
Pujols then took to Twitter in the aftermath of his historic accomplishment. He wrote,"Thank you to all of my fans for the well wishes on my HR#500. I thank the Lord for you, & your support over the years. May God bless you all."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia told The Los Angeles Times' Mike DiGiovanna it's easy to overlook how difficult it is to accomplish a feat of this magnitude.
"Albert is certainly aware of what he's accomplished, but he's not fixated on it. He wants to win baseball games, and that's why I think he's had such a great career and why he will continue to be very productive.
"I don't know if people realize, looking at his numbers, how hard it is to achieve some of those milestones, but to also do it with the consistency he has.
"He's got a lot of baseball left. I don't know if there are many players who work as hard as Albert does in the offseason to get where they need to be.
"I look for him, when it's all said and done, to be one of those handful of players you're in awe of."
DiGiovanna notes the 34-year-old Pujols is the third-youngest player to hit 500 home runs. Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Fox are the only ones who are ahead of him in that regard.
Should Pujols hit 22 more homers in 2014, he will surpass the likes of Eddie Murray (504), Gary Sheffield (509), Mel Ott (511), Eddie Matthews (512), Ernie Banks (512), Ted Williams (521), Frank Thomas (521) and Willie McCovey (521), per The Los Angeles Times report.
DiGiovanna also stresses Puljols' career .320 batting average through April 22 ranks him fourth among the members of the 500-home run club, trailing Williams (.344), Babe Ruth (.342) and Foxx (.325).
On this note, Nationals manager Matt Williams told ESPN Pujols repertoire is the stuff which legends are made of.
"It's huge. That's a lot of balls over the fence. That's a lot of them. Albert's one of the great hitters of this generation.
"The ability to not only hit home runs, but the ability to hit .330 and drive in 100-plus every single year -- that's saying something. That's the ultimate guy you want on your team, because he provides it all."
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