Los Angeles Angels

Albert Pujols Joins Rare Company

The flashy news in Anaheim following the Angels series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Pete is all about Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani, as it should be, in a game where he became the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle in MLB history.

Ohtani, however, wasn’t the only Angel to make baseball history. As legendary 1st baseman Albert Pujols continues to chase Hall of Famer Willie Mays on the all-time homerun list, he hit his 200th homerun as an Angel and 645th overall.

With the other 445 coming in a Cardinals uniform, Pujols has now joined two elite clubs.

Albert is the 7th hitter to hit 200 homeruns in both the American League and the National League. The others:

  • Frank Robinson (243 in the AL; BAL/LAA/CLE) (343 in the NL; CIN/LAD).
  • Mark McGwire (363 in the AL; Oakland) (220 in the NL; St. Louis).
  • Fred McGriff (224 in the AL; TOR/TBR) (269 in the NL; SD/ATL/CHC/LAD).
  • Ken Griffey Jr. (420 in the AL; SEA/CHW) (210 in the NL; Cincinnati).
  • Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (215 in the AL; LAA/TEX/BAL) (234 in the NL; Montreal).
  • Carlos Beltran (200 in the AL; KC/NYY/TEX/HOU) (235 in the NL; HOU/NYM/SFG/STL).

Of the players above, Robinson, Griffey and Guerrero have been elected into the MLB Hall of Fame. Mark McGwire did not make it due to the stigma surrounding steroids and Beltran is not yet eligible. The exclusion of McGriff is regularly regarded as one of the Halls’ biggest faults, and the wrong should be corrected in the coming years due to the Veteran’s Committee. 

On top of this, Pujols became just the sixth player to hit 200 homeruns with two different franchises. This differs from the above list because it’s team specific and not league specific. For example, Guerrero hit 173 homeruns with the Angels but also hit homeruns with Texas and Baltimore that placed him into the above group of players.

The other 5 players to hit 2 homeruns with 2 different teams:

  • Jimmie Foxx. 300 homeruns with the (then) Philadelphia Athletics. 200 homeruns with the Boston Red Sox.
  • Mark McGwire (noted above).
  • Ken Griffey Jr. 417 homeruns with the Seattle Mariners. 210 homeruns with the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Rafael Palmeiro. 321 with the Texas Rangers. 223 with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Manny Ramirez. 274 with the Boston Red Sox. 236 with the Cleveland Indians.

Even more notable is that 3 of the 5 have either admitted to steroids or have been caught using them. Only Griffey and Jimmie Foxx have cleanly hit 200 homeruns with multiple organizations before Albert Pujols. Both Foxx and Griffey have a plaque in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.

Despite declining heavily following the greatest 10-year stretch in MLB history, “The Machine” still continues to make history that’s hardly been touched over the last 120 years. While yes, Mike Trout is the best in the game and Shohei Ohtani is a two-way phenomenon, let’s also continue to admire the career that Albert Pujols has put together.

 

*Author’s note: Carlos Beltran played for the Houston Astros in 2004 and 2018. In 2013, the Astros switched from the National League to American League. His 2004 homeruns are counted as NL, and 2018 homeruns are counted as AL.

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(photo credit: LA Times)

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