Albert Pujols Hits 400th Bomb: St. Louis Cardinals' Feat in Perspective

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Albert Pujols Hits 400th Bomb: St. Louis Cardinals' Feat in Perspective
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Albert Pujols slugged his 400th career home run yesterday, launching one of his typical moonshots in the fourth inning of a loss to the Washington Nationals.

Pujols becomes the third-youngest player to ever reach 400 home runs at the age of 30 years, 222 days old. He trails only Alex Rodriguez (29 years, 316 days) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (30 years, 141 days).

Hitting 400 home runs may not seem like the achievement it once was, especially with Rodriguez recently reaching 600. But at 47th on the all-time list, Pujols is among truly elite company.

Pujols is the first player to hit 400 in his first 10 major-league seasons. It seems like a long time ago, but the Cardinals' first baseman didn't make his MLB debut until April 2, 2001.

He's averaged 43 home runs a season, hitting a career-high 49 in 2006. He's never hit less than 32.

How ridiculous is that?

In 2010, there is only one player who's already reached 40 home runs for the season (Jose Bautista with 41). Pujols, with 34 right now, is the only other player in baseball with a chance to get to 40.

In 2009, only Pujols (47), Prince Fielder (46), Ryan Howard (45), Mark Reynolds (43), and Adrian Gonzalez (40) hit at least 40.

In 2008, only Howard (47) and Adam Dunn (40) got there.

In 2007, only Alex Rodriguez (54), Fielder (50), Howard (47), Carlos Pena (46), and Dunn (40) were good enough.

Assuming Pujols gets to 40 this year, that means the mark was achieved 14 times in the last four years (an average of 3.5 each season).

So it's obviously hard to do. Pujols, however, has done it five times already in his career and is approaching his sixth.

At his current rate, Pujols will reach 500 home runs in his 13th season, 600 home runs in his 15th season, and 700 home runs in his 18th season. 

We all know there are only three players on the 700 list: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth. It took Bonds 19 seasons (despite hitting 73 in 2001), Aaron 20 seasons, and Ruth 21 seasons.

Alex Rodriguez will likely one day top Bonds on the career home-runs list, but his spot there will be in jeopardy until the day Pujols retires. If Big Albert can repeat his production for another decade, he'll be staring 800 career home runs right in the face as he celebrates his 40th birthday.

There's superstar good. There's Ruth good. Now, there's Pujols good.

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