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Cooperstown class of 2028? Cardinals Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina make retirements official

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PHILADELPHIA — Cardinals greats Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols officially and formally retired Tuesday, according to transactions shared by Major League Baseball. Pujols signed the paperwork to officially retire at the start of the week, and a representative for Molina said he would file the necessary paperwork by the end of the World Series.

The transactions, dated Nov. 1, 2022, were succinct with each player's name listed beside the word "retired."

That was followed by a period, for finality.

The formal process clears their names from the Cardinals’ 40-man roster ahead of free agency, assures they won't be listed as free agents, and is part of the process toward receiving retirement benefits. 

They will both be eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s class of 2028, and their names will first appear on ballots sent to eligible voters in December 2027.

Pujols, 42, retires after a grand season back where his career began – with the Cardinals. On a one-year contract with the team that drafted him, Pujols thundered for a career-best second half OPS of 1.103. The three-time MVP finishes his 22-year career as the fourth member of the 700 homer club with 703. He is second all-time in total bases (6,211) and RBIs (2,218). He is the all-time leader in hits, homers, and many significant offensive categories among players born outside the United States.

Molina, 40, is currently managing a winter ball team in Venezuela. In 19 seasons, all of them with the Cardinals, Molina won nine Gold Glove awards and is among the all-time leaders among full-time catchers with more than 2,100 starts at catcher and 2,168 hits.

Molina has been named manager of Team Puerto Rico for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. He will be in Florida as part of the training and could be a visitor at the Cardinals' spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

Pujols affirmed several times this past season that he intends to honor a 10-year, $10-million personal services contract with the Los Angeles Angels. That was part of the contract he signed with the Angels as a free agent in 2011, and it remained an option Pujols could take after retirement even when the Angels released him during the 2021 season.

Chris Carpenter and Tony La Russa, two Cardinals Hall of Famers who have been employees of the Angels, were able to participate in Cardinals events.

As St. Louis Cardinals legendary player Albert Pujols career comes to an end, take a look back at some of his most memorable moments.

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