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Angels' Albert Pujols Says 'I Can Play Until I'm 50. ... The Fire Is There.'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2019

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols rounds first after hitting a three-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Though he is coming up on his 40th birthday, Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols believes he still has plenty to give the game of baseball.

According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, the future Hall of Famer feels he has another decade left in him:

"I think the way I train and my dedication and my discipline I have in this game, if I am healthy I can play until I'm 50. I don't have any doubt in myself. I still have that drive to compete every day. The fire is there. I think it's always going to be there for me until the day I'm done.

"Whether it's tomorrow or in spring training, if I feel one day the fire is not there, it doesn't matter how much money is left on my contract, it's time to go. But I don't see that happening. Because this year this is the most fun I had because I was healthy and I was able to do things I wasn't able to do in the past."

Pujols has two years remaining on the 10-year, $240 million contract he signed with the Angels in 2011.

The 10-time All-Star and three-time National League MVP was hampered by injuries in recent seasons but remained relatively healthy in 2019.

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With two games remaining, Pujols owns a solid stat line of .245/.306/.433 with 23 home runs and 93 RBI over 129 games. It represents a strong bounce back for Pujols, who finished with just 19 homers and 64 RBI in 117 games last season.

Los Angeles Angels @Angels

Albert Pujols now has 3,167 career hits, which is the most by any foreign-born player in Major League history! @PujolsFive | #TheHaloWay https://t.co/iPuIno8JQR

Pujols' career numbers support the notion he is one of the greatest players in MLB history. He owns a slash line of .300/.379/.549 with 656 home runs and 2,075 RBI.

He is sixth on the all-time home runs list behind only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez and Willie Mays. He is also fourth all time in RBI behind Aaron, Ruth and A-Rod.

Pujols is just four homers from tying Mays and 44 homers from becoming just the fourth player in MLB history to hit 700. He is just 11 RBI behind A-Rod and 222 away from tying Aaron for the all-time record.

If Pujols does indeed play 10 more seasons, he will almost certainly set the RBI record and would have a chance to pass Bonds' home run record of 762.

Only six players in MLB history have appeared in a game at the age of 50 or older. Legendary pitcher Satchel Paige was the oldest at 59, and pitcher Jack Quinn and position players Charley O'Leary, Nick Altrock, Minnie Minoso and Jim O'Rourke also reached the milestone.

Most recently, pitcher Jamie Moyer started 10 games at age 49 in 2012, and Julio Franco played four games after he turned 49 in 2007 (he played 51 games earlier that season at 48).

Considering how productive Pujols still is, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that he could join that group provided he avoids serious injuries.

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