Pujols not 'chasing numbers' but will cherish 'pretty special' 700th homer
Albert Pujols said reaching 700 home runs will be something he looks back on with pride at the end of his career after becoming the fourth man to reach the landmark against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
The St. Louis Cardinals great announced in March the 2022 season would be his last in baseball, but he appears set to go out with a bang after enjoying an incredible second half of the season.
Pujols entered Friday's game against the Dodgers, his former team, with 698 career homers to his name and brought up number 699 with a crashing 434-foot blast in the third inning.
The 42-year-old soon had his milestone, picking out a similar spot in left-field to put the Cardinals 5-0 up.
Speaking after a big 11-0 win, Pujols said: "It's pretty special. When it's really going to hit me is when I'm done, at the end of the season, when I'm retired, and probably a moment or two after that I can look at the numbers.
"Look, don't get me wrong, I know what my place is in this game. But since day one, when I made my debut, it was never about numbers, it was never about chasing numbers.
"It was always about winning championships and trying to get better in this game. And I had so many people that taught me the right way early in my career, and that's how I've carried myself for 22 years that I've been in the big leagues.
"That's why I really don't focus on the numbers. I will, one day, but not right now."
Only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) have now hit more MLB homers than Pujols, who felt no desire to try to reclaim the historic ball from the lucky fan who caught it.
"Souvenirs are for the fans," Pujols said. "If they want to keep it, they can. At the end of the day, I don't focus on material stuff. I think I have the bat, the uniform, helmet, things that are special to me.
"At the end of the day, I think that's why the fans come here – to have a special moment of history. So, if they want to keep that baseball I don't have any problem with that."