Pujols 26th player to hit 500 home run mark

Brett Creamer and Brett Creamer

On Tuesday night, Albert Pujols hit his 499th and 500th career home runs in a 7-2 Angels victory over the Nationals. Pujols is the 26th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 500 home run mark, and the first to do so since Gary Sheffield in 2009.

Pujols has now joined an elite club that has over 16 Hall of Fame players, and will more than likely gain a few additional Hall of Famers within the next five years. However, since today’s MLB baseball is recognized as the “steroid era” by fans and analysts, will this impact Pujols’ accomplishment? Since 1999, five of the last 11 players to hit 500 home runs have either admitted or tested positive for human growth hormone.

I believe that this will not have an effect on Pujols because he has never been considered part of the “steroid era.” While other recent members of the 500 home run club have been, Pujols has managed to stay clean, and play the game the way it is meant to be played. Along with being known for being respectful of the game, he also has the stats on the field to prove why he is part of such a small group.

Nonetheless, Pujols is not one of the players that have tested positive for steroids in his 14-year career. To go along with his 500 dingers, he has a career batting average of .321 and 1,517 RBIs, which puts him at 50th all-time. Pujols, the three-time NL MVP hit his 500th home run off of Nationals’ Taylor Jordan in the fifth inning to reach the remarkable milestone.

The 2001 NL Rookie of the Year is the third fastest player to reach 500 career homeruns, behind Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx. At age 34, Pujols would have to average 40 home runs for the next six and a half years to pass Barry Bonds on the all-time home run record book. Pujols has failed to reach the 40 home run mark since 2010, when he launched 42 homeruns.

Pujols has battled his way back from a tough foot injury that has bothered him since the 2011 season, and was able to reach a milestone that many thought would be tough for him to do. Pujols realized that it was a pretty big deal once it actually sunk in that he became part of the 500 club. “I was pretty emotional running the bases,” Pujols said in an ESPN article.