PHOENIX — With a home run that moved him within nine swings of 700, Albert Pujols surpassed a record closer to home, one originally set by Stan “The Man” Musial, a man Pujols called a friend and a Hall of Famer who defined what it meant to be a Cardinal.
In the second inning of the Cardinals’ game at Chase Field, Pujols connected for a solo homer against Arizona lefty Madison Bumgarner.
Pujols’ 691st career home run traveled to the nook of seats in deep center field — and with it trailed significant, personal and Cardinals history.
When Pujols reached home, he had the four total bases to vault him ahead of Musial and into second place all-time for career total bases. Pujols, with 6,137 total bases, trails only Hank Aaron, who has 6,856.
Musial broke the record long held by Ty Cobb in June 1962. At age 41, Musial had two hits in one inning to surpass Cobb’s record, which at the time was set at 5,863. (It has since been adjusted by researches to 5,854, according to Baseball-Reference.com.) Musial pressed on from there to set a mark that only two of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time would reach and pass.
Musial maintained the record until Aaron warped past him. Willie Mays is the only other hitter in history with more than 6,000 total bases.
At the time of his retirement, Musial owned or shared 17 different major-league records and 29 National League records. The total base mark, which he set despite hitting fewer than 500 home runs, became a symbol of his consistent excellence as a complete hitter, and in many ways it was his signature record, right there with his 3,630 hits split evenly, home and away.
The home run hit by Pujols was his 12th of the season and his fifth in 10 days. He added his 13th homer and sixth in the past 10 days in the fourth inning of Saturday’s late game.
In 2021, shortly after signing with the Dodgers, Pujols spoke with the Post-Dispatch about approaching some of Musial’s records.
“I had the opportunity to be around him and ask questions and just know the kind of person he was and the legacy he left behind — in this game, not just on the field, but off the field, in the city of St. Louis, and around the globe,” said Pujols at the time. “I’m (20) something away from him, I know. I’m going to let it play out. If that chance comes and there’s a moment where I tie or pass it, I’m going to be emotional. I will be. I’m pretty sure he’ll be looking down from Heaven, looking down with a smile, his big smile. Proud of me — I hope.”
There will be much more coverage from Arizona on this record and the Cardinals’ game against the Diamondbacks at StlToday.com and in the pages of the Sunday Post-Dispatch.
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