Albert Pujols hit his 33rd home run of the season Monday night. How does that stack up in the history books?
As many St. Louis Cardinals fans know, first baseman Albert Pujols launched a three-run home run in the first inning of Monday night’s game in Pittsburgh, aiming the Cardinals toward an important win. It happened on the first pitch Pujols saw from Bucs reliever Sean Gallagher.
Most recognized the long ball as the 399th of Pujols’ career and are focused on when the milestone number 400 will occur. At 399, Pujols tied Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga for 47th place on the all-time list.
Less noticed was that Monday’s blast was also Pujols’ National League-leading 33rd of the season. With the help of researcher Tom Orf, we learn Pujols has joined a more elite list than the 400 home run club – one that indicates long-term staying power. On Monday, Pujols become just the 15th player in MLB history to have at least nine seasons of 33 or more home runs.
Looking at the list below, we see that five of the 15 are still active, but Pujols is the only one who has hit 33 since 2008. That season was the last time Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez and Carlos Delgado crossed the threshold. With his ninth such season, Pujols tied his current hitting coach, Mark McGwire. Barry Bonds is the career leader with 14 33-homer seasons.
33 or more home run seasons, MLB career
Pujols’ pace, while fast compared to his peers this season, is not particularly quick when compared to his past. Albert reached his 33rd home run faster in five of the nine years he hit that many. (He fell short with 32 in 2007.) Monday was the Cardinals’ 122nd game and Albert’s 121st played.
Cardinals game of the season in which Pujols hit his 33rd home run
Could there be another hot streak remaining for Pujols this season? Here is a list of some of his most proficient home run-hitting stretches, including the one he is currently working.
Albert Pujols’ best home run streaks