Albert Pujols one home run away from hitting 700th of his career

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Albert Pujols just needs one more home run to join the 700 home run club.

Pujols blasted the 699th home run of his career on Friday night.

The 42-year-old has the fourth-most home runs all-time – his 697th back on Sept. 11 put him past Alex Rodriguez.

Hank Aaron (762), Barry Bonds (755), and Babe Ruth (714) are the only people to hit more home runs in MLB history than Pujols.

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols celebrates his 693rd career home run off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly during the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 22, 2022, in Chicago.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Entering the season, Pujols needed 21 homers to reach a feat no one has accomplished since Bonds did back on Sept. 17, 2004. However, with his links to performance-enhancing drugs, he may be considered the first player to do it cleanly since Aaron did it 49 years ago.

With Pujols’ subpar play in recent years (.700 OPS since 2017 and averaging 18 homers per season in that span with the Angels and Dodgers), it seemed somewhat unlikely.

Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates scoring a run in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates scoring a run in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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But in mid-July, he kicked it up a notch.

Entering Friday night, since July 10, he has been the Pujols of old, hitting .312 with a 1.026 OPS. He now has 16 home runs in his last 54 games played.

Now, with 11 games and the rest of Friday to go, it’s not a matter of if, but when.

Pujols wasn’t the only Cardinal chasing history this year. Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina just broke the all-time MLB record for most starts by a battery. Wainwright threw the first pitch of a game to Yadi Wednesday for the 325th time in their careers.

Pujols has announced that he will retire at the end of the season, no matter what he finishes with. But with the way he’s been hitting recently, it’s difficult to imagine that he wouldn’t reach the number with a dozen games to go.

St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols hits his 693rd career home run off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly during the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 22, 2022, in Chicago.

St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols hits his 693rd career home run off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly during the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 22, 2022, in Chicago.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Pujols also will be playing in the postseason this October, and hopes to go out on top with a third World Series ring.