Albert Pujols joined an elite baseball fraternity on Saturday and he did it in emphatic style, hitting a grand slam to become the ninth player in MLB history to hit 600 career home runs.
“It is pretty awesome,” said Pujols. “It is a pretty special moment. You look back 20 years from now and you take it with you rest of your life.”
Pujols delivered his grand slam in the fourth inning to give the Los Angeles Angels a 7-1 lead over Minnesota. The Angels would go on to win 7-2. The 37-year-old became the fourth youngest to reach the milestone and the first to do it with a grand slam.
Pujols took a low swing at a 1-2 pitch from Ervin Santana, then savoured the moment by briefly standing at home plate to watch the trajectory. Fireworks exploded and his teammates waited excitedly at home plate to hail their Dominican hero.
There was no mystery about what happened to the home run ball, as the fan who caught it notified park officials. They helped arrange for him to personally deliver the ball to Pujols on the field.
Pujols gladly accepted the ball as television cameras recorded the event, then thanked the fan before heading into the clubhouse.
Only Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willy Mays (660), Samy Sosa (609), Barry Bonds (762), Alex Rodriguez (696), Ken Griffey Jr. (630) and Jim Thome (612) have hit more home runs than Pujols.
The last five on that list all faced questions about the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Despite playing much of his career during American baseball’s steroid era, Pujols was not named in the Mitchell Report and has never failed a drug test.
Pujols was the second Dominican-born player to make history on Saturday night. (Agence France-Presse)
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