Los Angeles Dodgers fans remember Albert Pujols very well. In fact, many wanted him to return to the team after the 2021 season because of Tio Albert’s impact on the clubhouse and his penchant for delivering in the clutch. Had LA not been decimated by injuries, it could’ve been a special season for all involved.
But then the offseason arrived following an early playoff exit and Pujols made it clear that 2022 would be his final MLB campaign. So what was the best way to fulfill that narrative? Return to where it all began, of course.
At 42 years old, Pujols re-signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he spent the first 11 big league seasons. With the Cards, Pujols won two World Series, a Rookie of the Year and three MVPs (with three runner-up finishes), which essentially solidified his place in baseball history.
The job wasn’t done, however. That’s why Pujols came back for his 22nd year in the bigs. He needed 21 home runs to hit the legendary 700 mark and 65 RBI to pass Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time list.
On Friday night at Dodger Stadium (his first return since playing 85 games with the team last year), Pujols belted his 700th dinger off Phil Bickford to give the Cardinals a 5-0 lead over the Dodgers in an eventual 11-0 victory. His former manager, Dave Roberts, had quite the perfect reaction from the opposing dugout, too.
Dave Roberts’ reaction to Albert Pujols’ 700th HR was every Dodgers fan
“YES!! History for Albert! Love that guy … DAMMIT! We’re down 5-0 and have another unfavorable pitching matchup on Sunday Night Baseball. The bullpen’s going to get burned.”
Roberts was pretty much every Dodgers fan watching at home, but for the folks in attendance, it was a full-on “Let’s Go Albert” show. Just listen to Dodger Stadium at the crack of the bat. LA fans love baseball history and they still have an affection for Pujols, one of the greatest to ever do it. The definition of respect.
As for Phil Bickford, the Dodgers’ certified “Vibe Guy,” we’d like to guess he was happy to play a role in the whole thing. Andrew Heaney did too, when he allowed a two-run shot off the bat of Pujols the inning prior.
If the Dodgers’ pitching staff is going to get rocked, it might as well be for a good cause. And for just a moment there, Roberts was thinking exactly that.