Pujols makes history (again)

Natalia Fernandez, Staff Writer

Albert Pujols, a 42 year old potential Hall of Fame baseball player, has surpassed former Yankees player Alex Rodriguez in home runs, hitting his 695th career home run on September 4. Known as the machine, the current Cardinals 1st baseman, has entered his 22nd baseball season with a total so far of 237 at bats, 29 runs, 63 hits, 43 runs batted in, and 42 strikeouts, 16 home runs all with a batting average of .266. Pujols made it to one of the final rounds in his 10th and final All-Star Game hosted at Dodger Stadium where Pujols is hoping to reach 700 home runs before his retirement at the end of this season. 

Outside of the field, Pujols is president of the Pujols Family Foundation, which is dedicated to “helping those living with Down Syndrome here at home and improving the lives of the impoverished in the Dominican Republic.” Pujols has a daughter, Isabella, with Down syndrome and his son AJ Pujols is currently the Vice President of the foundation. Because his daughter has down syndrome, Pujols is more connected to the foundation and the people he strives to help. Growing up, Pujols was raised by his grandmother and father due to his parents divorce. After many of his family members had made the move to the United States, his father and him were the last to move.  “Watching my dad and uncle playing, that is what inspired me the most, to play, to be like my dad,” said Pujols. At the young ages of 12 and 13, Albert decided he wanted to turn his dream of being a professional baseball player into a reality so he worked and played very hard to do so. He attended Maple Woods Community College where he was then drafted for the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft after only playing one college baseball season. 

At 19 years old, Pujols was drafted in the thirteenth  round by the Saint Louis Cardinals and was the 402 overall pick. After people had communicated to him that he would be going into a high draft, Pujols was very disappointed with the overall outcome. Nearly two years later, Pujols was called up from the minors in 2001 as a first baseman. Later that year, he was awarded rookie of the year, playing 161 games with a .329 batting average, 37 home runs and 130 runs batted in. In 2002, Albert was awarded as the Most Valuable Player and again in 2003 and 2005. One year later in 2004, he was awarded the National League Championship Series MVP and the Silver Slugger award which he also received in 2001 and 2003. He played his first 11 seasons with the Cardinals, nine seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, one season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and has returned for his final season with Cardinals. In 2006 and 2010, he won gold gloves for first base. 

Although he has won many awards, some not listed “I don’t want people to remember me as a baseball player. To me, off the field is more important than what I do on the field,” Pujols said. With his upcoming retirement Pujols will be remembered for the way impacted people’s lives, whether it was baseball fans or those in need.