Albert Pujols entered the 2014 season with 492 career home runs, only eight away from joining the legendary 500 Home Run Club. Considering that it took Pujols until May 29 last year before he hit his eighth home run, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t realize that he entered tonight’s game at Nationals Park only two away from the milestone.
After his first inning at-bat against Taylor Jordan, the was cut down to only one away, thanks to a three-run blast that gave the Angels an early lead. In the fifth inning, with Mike Trout on first and Jordan paying way too much attention to the youngster, Jordan hung a pitch over the outside of the plate that Pujols lofted deep into the center field bleachers.
After pausing at home to admire the flight of the ball, and to savor his moment with history, Pujols trotted around the bases with typical ease. His teammates poured out of the third base dugout to meet him at the plate, where the three-time MVP slowed down to a walk before touching home in 26.33 seconds.
From what I can tell in my records, this was Albert Pujols’ slowest tater trot since the Tater Trot Tracker began in 2010. His next slowest trot came in June of last year, when he kind of tweaked his knee rounding third. That trot clocked in at 26.09 seconds. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! A player has every right to enjoy a major milestone like this one. I mean, if the event is important enough that the opposing team will stop the game to acknowledge your feat, it’s probably worth an extra few seconds on the bases.
To put Pujols’ 500th tater trot in context, here are a few other notable trot times from the recent past. I explored them more in depth here.
- Mark McGwire #62 – 33.04 seconds*
* Normally, this is “N/A” since he stopped running multiple times
- Barry Bonds #700 – 32.75 seconds
- Barry Bonds #660 – 31.32 seconds
- Barry Bonds #715 – 30.06 seconds
- Alex Rodriguez #500 – 28.87 seconds
- Barry Bonds #700 – 26.55 seconds
- Albert Pujols #500 – 26.33 seconds
- Barry Bonds #70 – 26.16 seconds
- Ken Griffey Jr. #600 – 25.62 seconds
- Alex Rodriguez #600 – 25.57 seconds
- Barry Bonds #500 – 25.49 seconds
- Sammy Sosa #600 – 25.27 seconds
- Hank Aaron #715 – 24.39 seconds
- Ken Griffey Jr. #500 – 24.3 seconds
- Sammy Sosa #500 – 23.72 seconds
- Willie Mays #600 – 23.64 seconds
- Mickey Mantle #500 – 23.31* seconds (may be a step or two late)
- Hank Aaron #714 – 22.54 seconds
- Derek Jeter 3,000th hit – 19.47 seconds
Here’s hoping we see many more milestones from Albert Pujols.