The 600 Club: Albert Pujols joins an exclusive list with time to continue climbing

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Albert Pujols hit home run number 599 on Tuesday May 30, which means fans waited a whole three days, two games and 3.5 innings to watch the Machine knock number 600 out of the park.

And boy was it worth it.
Pujols stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the fourth. Two outs, 1-2 count, bases loaded. A swing and it’s gone. The 3-time MVP and 2-time World Series champion hit number 600 deep to left field, just right of the pole making everyone guess whether it’s good or foul until it was in the hands of the fans.
37-year-old Albert Pujols trotted around the bases, joining an exclusive list that eight players have reached before him.

Watch Pujols hit no. 600:

With that swing of the bat, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Alex Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey (630), Jim Thome (612) and Sammy Sosa (609).
But what made Pujols’ feat even more remarkable is the number of home runs the slugger hits per season. Pujols’ single-season max stands at 49 home runs.
To put it in perspective, Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001, Sammy Sosa tallied 66 in 1998, Babe Ruth hit 60 in 1927, ARod knocked 57 out of the park in 2002 and so on and so forth.

Albert Pujols has been hitting home runs for 17 seasons, and those homers matter. According to Baseball Reference, Pujols has hit 12 walk-off home runs, 48 game-tying and 235 go ahead HRs. He’s knocked the ball out of 37 different parks and homered twice in a game 51 times.
He also did it by the books. At no point during his career has Albert Pujols been associated with steroid or PED use. Both Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were caught in scandals that didn’t take away from the number of home runs they hit, but definitely hurt their reputations. Pujols, on the other hand, has not gotten caught up in that mess, which as sad as it is, is a feat of its own.  
The Machine is also the only active player on the list. With four seasons (not including 2017) left on his 10-year contract with the Angels, he has plenty of time to make his way up the ladder.
We’re not expecting him to get close to Bonds or Aaron and perhaps he’ll never even threaten Rodriguez’s fourth place. After 17 seasons, Pujols is slowing down a bit, and who can blame him? The DH hit more than 31 home runs only once, in 2015, since he joined the Angels in 2012.
But let’s talk hypotheticals. Albert Pujols has played in 51 of the Angles’ 59 games so far this season, hitting nine home runs. If he continues at this pace, and plays 150 games, Pujols can reach around 25 home runs for this season, meaning the Machine will pass both Sammy Sosa and Jim Thome by the end of this season.
If he continues at this pace until the end of his contract in 2021, he could even pass ARod.
But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, already planning the 700th celebration while we still haven’t finished celebrating no. 600.

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