LOS ANGELES — After Albert Pujols hit two long balls into the Southern California night, putting him in the exclusive 700 Home Run Club, he gave his close friend Adrian Beltré a high-five, celebrated with his Cardinals teammates and then went into a tunnel to let his emotions pour out of every pore.
In that tunnel, just a few steps away from the Cardinals‘ dugout, the serious slugger, who had talked a lot this season about how he wished he had been able to enjoy his path to the Hall of Fame more, finally let down his guard and let himself feel. Down in the dugout, the calm and cool shown on the field turned into a mess of feelings. Pujols sat down and cried as if he couldn’t handle how big the moment was.
Who Did Albert Pujols High-five?
Pujols said of his feelings after the game, as he was surrounded by his family, “I couldn’t control them.” “If you watch the home run video, you’ll see that I went down into the tunnel and cried there.”
Oliver Marmol the Cardinals manager and a close friend of Albert Pujols who pushed for him to be signed with a week left in Spring Training, looked down the tunnel and saw Pujols sitting down with his head in his hands. Marmol has known Pujols for more than 15 years and lives in a house near St. Louis that the slugger owns. He said seeing someone who has accomplished so much show such raw emotion will be his lasting memory of the historic night.
— MLB (@MLB) September 24, 2022
“It was cool when he went into that tunnel by himself and took everything in; that was probably the coolest part for me,” said Marmol, whose Cardinals beat the Dodgers 11-0 to cut their magic number to four.
“I just sat there and watched him for a little while when he was by himself and there were no cameras around. I don’t know what he was thinking, but he was taking everything in. He was on his knees and had his hands in front of his face. It wasn’t part of the show or anything else that was going on. He was thinking about everything he had just done and it was pretty cool.”
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 13, 2022
The 42-year-old Pujols said this is the last season of his 22-year career. He joined Barry Bonds (762 home runs), Hank Aaron (755 home runs) and Babe Ruth (714 home runs) as the only power hitters in AL/NL history to hit at least 700 home runs in their careers. Only Pujols and Aaron have had at least 3,000 hits and 700 home runs. Like Aaron, Pujols got to the 700 clubs without having a season with 50 home runs.
After going around the bases, Pujols ran over to Beltré and gave him a high-five through the net. After that, his Cardinals teammates met him outside of the dugout. The crowd at Dodger Stadium gave him a standing ovation and chanted “Pu-jols! Pu-jols! Pu-jols!” and “Al-bert! Al-bert! Al-bert!” as he left the field.
Pujols said it was right and special for him to hit the home run in Los Angeles, where he had lived for the past 11 seasons and where his children now live. Because he hit two home runs in Los Angeles, his family was able to be there for a very important night.