Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Pujols joins 500-homer club distinctly
By ESPN Stats & Information
Albert Pujols has done many distinct things in his baseball career, so it’s no surprise that his 500th career home run was done in a one-of-a-kind fashion.
Pujols became the first player to hit his 499th and 500th career home runs in the same game. The Elias Sports Bureau noted that two players hit their 500th and 501st home runs in the same game -- Mark McGwire and Harmon Killebrew.
Pujols is also the fourth player to hit his 499th and 500th home run within a span of three at-bats or fewer, along with Ted Williams, McGwire and Willie Mays.
The 34-year-old Pujols is the third-youngest player to join the 500-home run club, which now numbers 26 members. He trails then-32-year-olds Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx.
Pujols is the fourth player to reach 500 home runs within his first 14 seasons, along with McGwire, Rodriguez and Mays.
Pujols is also the fourth player born outside the United States to hit 500 home runs, joining Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Manny Ramirez.
He is the second player to hit his 500th career home run as a member of the Angels, joining Reggie Jackson on Sept. 17, 1984.
Pujols entered the day with a career batting average of .321. Only three members of the 500-homer club have hit for a higher average: Williams (.344), Babe Ruth (.342) and Foxx (.325).
This wasn’t the first milestone home run he hit at Nationals Park. He also hit his 400th career home run there against Jordan Zimmermann.
Pujols now has eight home runs in 2014, his most before the end of April since hitting eight in 2009. He's hit more than eight by the end of April only once (2006, when he had 14).
Getting his swing back
Pujols' 500th home run went 430 feet, his longest of the season (and longest since June 21, 2013, a 448-footer off Gerrit Cole). It came on a fastball at the top of the strike zone.
Pujols has four home runs on 35 swings against pitches in the upper-third of the strike zone or above. He had six home runs on 226 such swings last season.