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Albert Pujols will be the eighth player ever with 500 homers by age 34

Apr 21, 2014, 10:47 AM EST

Albert Pujols Reuters

Not that there was any doubt about Albert Pujols reaching 500 career homers by the end of the season, but his strong start for the Angels with a league-leading six bombs puts him just two long balls shy of the magic number.

When he gets there, possibly this week, Pujols will become just the eighth player in baseball history to reach 500 career homers by age 34. Here’s the previous seven:

Alex Rodriguez      613
Sammy Sosa          539
Jimmie Foxx         527
Babe Ruth           516
Hank Aaron          510
Willie Mays         505
Ken Griffey Jr.     501

Pujols is at 498 right now, so he’ll likely surpass Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth, and there’s a decent chance he could pass Jimmie Foxx as well.

Also, just in case anyone is curious, here’s a list of the most homers by anyone after age 34:

Barry Bonds         317
Hank Aaron          245
Rafael Palmeiro     208
Andres Galarraga    199
Darrell Evans       198
Babe Ruth           198
Carlton Fisk        193

Kind of a weird list.

  1. southernballhawk1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    His trade to the Angles really slowed down his home run chase.

    • rbj1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      Um, he was a free agent. Cardinals didn’t want to give him the years.

    • maddog11896 - Apr 21, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Trade to the Angels?

      Are you ok?

      • southernballhawk1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        Accidentally say trade on this website and you might as well be crucified the way people act.

      • raysfan1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Oh, no, guillotines are much more efficient. Now please excuse me while I go back to finish sharpening the blade.

    • metroplexsouthsider - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      And, “ballhawk” made me scratch my head so much I wrote “trade” myself. (And, it was his comment I didn’t mean to report, then after accidentally hitting the “report” button, forgot to hit the reply button, and so my comment, my main one, is separate.)

      Sorry, “ballhawk.”

      The stadiums are equally pitcher-friendly. Pujols pressed and chased bad pitches in 2012, which he had started in 2011. His fasciitis problems would have played out the same in 2013 in either city.

  2. metroplexsouthsider - Apr 21, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Actually, the trade did nothing like that. The two teams’ stadiums are about even in being slightly pitcher-friendly, and going to the AL offered him the chance to get “spotted” a game at DH was helpful.

    Instead, Pujols “pressed,” walked less, and chased a lot of bad pitches in 2012. (That said, he had started that in 2011, which is part of why the Cards made their decision.) Then he got injured last year, which likely would have played out the same in St. Louis.

    That said, I wish him a successful 2014.

    And oops, hit wrong link at first, I didn’t mean to report the above comment.

  3. metroplexsouthsider - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Galarraga and Evans are definitely “interesting.” Would we talk half as much about Evans without his late-life 40-HR season? Galarraga a good all-around hitter who might have gotten a bit of HOF fluffery without the two cancer bouts, but was a crappy fielder from the get-go, basically.

    • cohnjusack - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Would we talk half as much about Evans without his late-life 40-HR season?

      Who talks about Darrell Evans? I mean, it’s a shame we don’t because the guy had a really great career…but he’s hardly ever talked about.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Without definitive proof, none of us will ever know…

      It’s still not definitive, but what I do is look at how many at bats they take to hit a HR on average.

      From the beginning of his career through his age 34 season, Galarraga had 4,848 at bats and hit 200 home runs meaning he averaged a home run for every 24.24 at bats…

      From his age 35 season until he retired, Galarraga had 3,647 at bats (MUCH LESS than up to his age 34 season) and he hit 216 home runs meaning he averaged a home run every 16.88 at bats.

      That is a 50% improvement in the back half of his career, age 35 to retirement at age 43.

      One would expect his numbers to be the opposite of what they were. For him to hit a HR every 16 at bats when he was 27, 28, 29 yrs old and to slow down and only hit them every 24 at bats when he was 37, 38, 39 etc…

      But again, THIS does NOT prove anything either I know.

      Just interesting is all.

      • yosoyrorro - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        Don’t know how much this means (if any), but Galarraga hit a HR every 15.5 AB while with Colorado (ages 32 to 36) and a HR every 23.92 AB the rest of his career. He did hit one every 18.2 after that (from 37 to 43)

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:42 PM

        good point about Colorado…

        in general I do this with other players, not just this player, just to see how they are aging…

        again, I know it doesn’t prove anything on its own

  4. echech88 - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Good to see him bounce back although obvious concern for Anaheim is that he’s essentially a pull hitter now.

    • echech88 - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Also…I just laughed at Bonds’ 317 homers after age 34. Insanity!

  5. brandotho - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    10, soon to be 11, players have reached the 500 milestone since Eddie Murray did at the very end of his career in the mid 90s. Seems like 500 is the new 400, but 600 is the new 500 (Bonds, Sosa, Griffey, A-Rod, and Thome all have reached there)

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      After Pujols eventually gets to 600, there are not many others even in sniffing distance of 600 though based on either their HR total or their age (or both).

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        Miguel Cabrera will be interesting. He is at 366 now at age 31. Seems like a long shot but who knows. He has a very good swing and is still hitting for power.

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        asimonetti88

        He will be an interesting case… he IS a great hitter, with power.

        Of course, I, you and any of us have to make assumptions while a player like Miggy is still playing.

        Right now he’s had 6,277 at bats in his career and he’s hit 366 HR’s for one every 17.01 at bats…

        Now, as he ages I expect him to hit homeruns at a fewer pace.

        Let’s assume he’ll hit a HR every 20 at bats for the rest of his career.

        To reach 600 exactly, he’d need to bat 4,680 more times at that pace.

        That would give him 10,907 at bats in his career.

        That is RARE air as ONLY 26 men have made it to 10,000 or more at bats in the history of the game and he needs to push 11,000 at bats if he averages 1 HR for every 20 at bats going forward from 366 career HR’s.

        ONLY 9 players have more than 10,907 at bats in their MLB careers…

        I don’t see Miggy getting to 10,900 at bats…

        So he’ll have to hit HR’s at about the same pace he has through his younger seasons…

        Miggy gets roughly 600 at bats per season (not plate appearances, but at bats) and 4,680 more at bats is just under 8 more seasons worth of at bats for him to continue to hit HR’s around his current pace…

        My bet is that we won’t have to wait 7 or 8 yrs to know… the next couple of seasons will let us know whether he’s on the pace to achieve 600 HR’s or not.

        Lastly, on a tangent, older players will get more days off and as Miggy plays out his 10 yr contract, I’m sure he’ll play less at 39, 40 then he does now…

        So even using say 525 at bats for the next 10 seasons, he would finish with almost 11,500 career at bats and be in 5th place all time for most career at bats…

        I don’t see that happening, not because of the money they gave him but getting to #5 on the list of most career at bats is DIFFICULT… there is NOT much company up there by those men…

        Pujols won’t get there either…

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      It is entirely possible in my opinion that Albert could end up with more home runs than A-Rod and Willie Mays. He’s at 498 now, if he has 3 more 30 HR seasons that will put him close to or over 600 by 37. If he can mash 15-20 HRs a year for 2 or 3 more years then he’d be right there.

      This all supposes he can stay healthy though. He hasn’t really been healthy a lot over the last two years so that’s a big question for him going forward.

      • brandotho - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        I mean, we all thought A-Rod was well on his way to smashing Bonds’ record and perhaps push 800 homers. Still a great chance even now for him to reach 700

      • brandotho - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        I mean, we all thought A-Rod was well on his way to smashing Bonds’ record and perhaps push 800 homers. Still a great chance even now for him to reach 700

  6. miguelcairo - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    First-ballot HOF-er in my book.

    • cohnjusack - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Should be in everyone’s book, unless they know nothing about baseball.

      Top 1st Baseman of All-Time ranked by bWAR
      1. Lou Gehrig
      2. Jimmie Foxx
      3. Albert Pujols

      ..and at just 2.7 wins behind Jimmie Foxx, it’s probable that he moved to #2 on that list this year.

    • aceshigh11 - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      I don’t think there’s any debate about that. His first 10 years in MLB might be the most dominant and flawless beginning to a career ever.

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Agreed. Pujols is NOT the best ever, but his first 10 seasons are arguably the BEST first 10 seasons of anyone who ever played the game…

    • anxovies - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      He will replace Rogers Hornsby as the greatest right handed hitter ever.

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        No sir, he will not.

        Hornsby’s career OPS+ is 175 (Albert is at 168 and will go down as he ages)

        Hornsby’s career OPS is 1.010 (Alber is at 1.008 and it’s been going down and will more as he ages)

        Hornsby’s career batting average is .358 and Albert’s is WELL below that and will go down from where it is now at .321

        Hornsby’s career slugging percentage was .577% Albert is at .599% and it’s been going down for years and years now, his last 4 full seasons it’s been below .599% and of his remaining years to play in the bigs, he’ll be lucky to be above that for 2 of the 8 seasons and they rest will be below that mark, even if he doesn’t sink as low as .577%, their numbers will become a lot closer than they are now…

        Albert IS an all time great but he will not eclipse Hornsby as the greatest right handed hitter in the game.

  7. bfunk1978 - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Looks like for the first time since moving to Anaheim, Albert is looking like his old self again. Not the super-high average (though that might be just bad luck) but he walks at a good clip and he’s hitting for power again. Glad to see my generation’s greatest hitter getting back on track, even if it’s not in a Cardinal uniform.

    • metroplexsouthsider - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      I expect him to end up with something between 2011 and 2012 stats. The Angels as a team will gladly take that.

  8. beepbeepbeeplgb - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    as a cards fan, glad to see him doing well again. would love to see him come back to busch but the mlb is just not letting that happen. a few years ago there would have been plenty of boos (myself included) because of all the hurt feelings, now it’s all passed and i think he’d get a great ovation.

    • gibbyfan - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      i feel the same way about Albert–enjoyed his strugles at first but now hoping he does well…..looking for him to have Bonds like later years ahaead —not 70 hrs of course but wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of 40 + years –he is still a beast

  9. perryt200 - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    I wish Albert the best, but isn’t there a little debate on his age?

    • Reflex - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      No. There are idiots who like to insinuate things. But given how young he was when he came over it would be one hell of a master plot to pull off a lie about his age.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      He went to high school in the US, where you need to show a valid birth certificate to gain admittance.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        Remember when Danny Almonte had an authentic, government issued birth certificate that contained the incorrect birthdate?

        “In the Dominican Republic it is not uncommon for parents to wait years before officially declaring the birth of a child.”

        http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/cover/news/2001/08/27/llwseries/

  10. gothapotamus90210 - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Perhaps 500* HR by age 34**.

    • cohnjusack - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      Note: Albert peaked between ages 26-29, declined in his early 30s. In other words, he has had a remarkably normal aging curve.

      But no, continue on with claiming he used steroids and lied about his age based on zero evidence. This way I know that you are a huge jacka** and I can keep that in mind any time I read any of your other posts.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        I made no claims, I merely said “perhaps”, nor did I define the asterisks.

        But I apparently hurt your feelings, go tell the teacher on me.

      • raysfan1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        Worse than no evidence regarding the age thing since Pujols has evidence of telling the truth.

      • Reflex - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        And perhaps gothapotamus90210 is a rapist. I mean, I’ve never seen evidence that says otherwise…

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        nor did I define the asterisks.

        Nice copout…

      • gothapotamus90210 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        @raysfan

        garbage-in, garbage-out: see my post above.

      • raysfan1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        I’m well aware of the Danny Almonte case. However, that does not mean anyone faked Pujols’. The only motivation claiming he was 16 instead of 18 would be to make him eligible to play high school ball; however, at 18 he could have skipped that, tried out for scouts and started playing in the minors immediately..and made the majors earlier too. Almonte’s case and his are quite different, particularly if one looks logically at the motive angle. Regardless, he has a legal birth certificate, putting the burden of proof upon the accusers and not on him. Otherwise, GIGO applies the said accusers’ comments.

      • raysfan1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        I’m well aware of the Danny Almonte case. However, that does not mean anyone faked Pujols’. The only motivation claiming he was 16 instead of 18 would be to make him eligible to play high school ball; however, at 18 he could have skipped that, tried out for scouts and started playing in the minors immediately..and made the majors earlier too. Almonte’s case and his are quite different, particularly if one looks logically at the motive angle. Regardless, he has a legal birth certificate, putting the burden of proof upon the accusers and not on him. Otherwise, GIGO applies to said accusers’ comments.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Apr 21, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        Rays, there is a huge difference in how scouts perceive 16 and 18 year olds. Why do you think players such as Vlad Guerrero, Miguel Tejada, Fausto and Leo Nunez did it?

        An 18 year old posing as a 16 year old looks a lot more promising as an “actual” 18 y/o. There would’ve been considerable motive for him. Beyond pro ball, the opportunity to get a college scholarship. (Keeping in mind he moved to the US at 16, after going unnoticed in DR – the possibility he was only a college level player was real. He DID go undrafted out of HS.)

      • raysfan1 - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:28 AM

        The burden of proof remains on you. You have none.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Apr 22, 2014 at 8:02 AM

        Rays: you’re right, I lack proof that he’s older than stated. However, the process of authentic DR birth certificates lacks the necessary controls to ensure 100% certainty of anybody who has one’s age.

    • cohnjusack - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      I made no claims, I merely said “perhaps”, nor did I define the asterisks.

      My apologies. Perhaps you’re a *huge jacka** *

      • gothapotamus90210 - Apr 21, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        Simmer down, brah. Take some Midol and a Xanax.

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