Albert Pujols was already a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, but after last week it seems like his legend will be cemented as one of baseball’s eternal greats. Now the name Pujols is one of four among a very, very small club: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth. And now Albert Pujols.
In a season right out of a storybook, the aging star has rediscovered his joy of baseball, and with it has experienced an unprecedented final wind. Hitting his 700th home run in the waning days of the season was certainly the ideal conclusion to his farewell tour. There are very few ways a final season could have been more cinematic or emotionally satisfying.
And yes, I know, it’s been misery to cheer for anything about a Cardinals player, but here we are.
Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals (21) (700) pic.twitter.com/kWAAVNMKeA— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) September 24, 2022
Phil Bickford, on being the man to allow 700: “At first, I was upset that I came up a homerun and then when the crowd reacted and seen all the smiles, it was a very special moment for MLB and Albert Pujols is one of the most amazing people I've ever met.”— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 24, 2022
- Tom Verducci looks at how this home run marathon has put the cherry on a perfect farewell season.
- Pujols celebrated the milestone with another super-slugger, Adrian Beltre, writes Zach Koons.
- Fabian Ardaya looks at how Pujols rediscovered his joy for baseball on the path to 700. (The Athletic subscription required.)
And now onto the rest of today’s links.
- It looks like TLR won’t be coming back this season.
From the Sox: "After undergoing additional testing and medical procedures over the past week, doctors for Tony La Russa have directed him to not return as manager of the Chicago White Sox for the remainder of the 2022 season. ...— LaMond Pope (@lamondpope) September 24, 2022
- It’s not just players who can get sidelined for bizarre injuries as Keith Hernandez is put on the IL for the rest of the season. Story by Kevin Harrish.
- Jason Beck looks at how former Cub Javier Báez is embracing the role of villain whenever he plays against the White Sox.
- Maybe a name change is good luck. The Cleveland Guardians have clinched a place in the postseason for the first time since 2018. (AP)
- Gerald Eskenazi shares a very special Rosh Hashana story about Ron Blomberg.
- You know things are getting wild when Yankees fans are cheering for the Red Sox.
Alex Cora says that a bunch of #Yankees fans were chanting “Let’s Go Red Sox!” next to their dugout, and were actually cheering him on to score 2 more runs in the 8th so #AaronJudge could have another AB in the 9th with a tie game.— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) September 24, 2022
- Davy Andrews assesses how Carlos Correa’s season has bounced back in the waning months of the year.
- It looks like Don Mattingly and the Marlins will be parting ways at the end of this season, shares Daniel Chavkin.
- This week the Rays will welcome the long-awaits return of ace Tyler Glasnow, just in time for a potential wild card game. (ESPN)
- What on earth...
We got an old fashioned National Anthem standoff! pic.twitter.com/1FtR7kiTdV— MLB (@MLB) September 25, 2022
- Jay Jaffe laments the loss of weird playoffs math.
- Matt Martell looks at the collective thrill of watching Aaron Judge reach for home run 62.
- Baseball fans in general aren’t the only ones watching, as Roger Maris’ family is also paying close attention to the milestone hunt, shares Bill Ladson.
- Ken Rosenthal believes that Pujols’ historic run should serve as a reminder to the Yankees of what they have to lose this offseason. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Grant Brisbee brings up the Barry Bonds angle and how it is we define “the greatest season ever.” (The Athletic subscription required.)
- He was really committed to this being a home run.
Trust us on this one, you will never see a better batter reaction to a fly out to left than this right here.— Gwinnett Stripers (@GoStripers) September 23, 2022
Still a simple F7 in the scorebook. pic.twitter.com/LwWph2AZOb
And tomorrow will be a better day, Buster. Make it so.