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A-Rod: Pujols 'storybook' ending gives Cardinals fans reminder of 'modern-day Musial'

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Pujols hits 700

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols hits home run number 700 in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

The three-time MVP Albert Pujols zoomed past this season in career home runs to join an exclusive foursome with more than 700, Alex Rodriguez watched batting practice from field level Thursday at Busch Stadium and remarked how “happy I am Albert has a storybook ending farewell.”

That ending included surpassing Rodriguez’s 696 home runs to become the first Latin player with more than 700.

“The first 10 or 11 years of his career were probably as good a stretch as any player had in the history of the game, and for Cardinals fans, fans all around baseball, he’s like our modern-day Stan Musial,” Rodriguez told the Post-Dispatch during BP.

“He looks happy and liberated — and great," Rodriguez continued. "It’s like putting on the Redbird uniform there’s a muscle memory and a harmony that comes with it. That’s the biggest difference I see, him being in a good headspace and ready to finish like a champion.”

Rodriguez attended BP during Thursday's workout day as he prepped to be part of ESPN's broadcast of the Cardinals wild-card series against the Phillies. Rodriguez and play-by-play broadcaster Michael Kay will have the call for the entirety of the best-of-three series at Busch Stadium.

Pujols’ career, by the numbers

With the conclusion of the regular season, the numbers are ready and permanent for their future etching onto a plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. In his final season in the majors, Pujols hit 24 home runs — his highest total since 2016 — and he had 68 RBIs to go with a .270 average and a .895 OPS.

He finished his career with a .296 batting average, a .374 on-base percentage, and a .544 slugging percentage for a career OPS of .918 in 3,080 regular-season games.

He played the fifth-most games in Major League Baseball history.

His 703 career home runs rank fourth behind only Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762). Pujols finished his 22nd regular season with 3,384 hits (10th most, per Baseball-Reference.com), 2,218 RBIs (2nd), 1,914 runs (12th), 686 doubles (5th), and 6,211 total bases (2nd). As a right-handed hitter who hit the ball hard often with runners on base he also owns the major-league record with 426 double plays hit into.

Pujols finishes with more extra base hits (1,405) than strikeouts (1,404).

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