On this day exactly 71 years ago, 20-year-old Stan Musial made his St. Louis debut. In the second game of a double-header at Sportsman’s Park against Boston, the right-fielder singled, doubled and drove in two.
Last Wednesday night, former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols launched another home run, this time against the Oakland A’s. The fact that it was the 475th of his career wasn’t particularly notable to his current Los Angeles Angels, but the blast against the A’s had a distinct St. Louis undertone.
The home run tied him with the man whose legacy he could have supplanted, Hall of Famer Musial, for 28th place on the all-time MLB home run list. Pujols hit his first 445 home runs during his 11 years as a Cardinal.
While Pujols will soon surpass “The Man” in this statistical category, he forever abdicated his chance to do so in the hearts of Cardinals fans.
Pujols isn’t the only player who has recently closed in on one of Musial’s career marks.
With a two-run home run for the New York Yankees Friday night, Alex Rodriguez collected the 1,944th and 1,945th RBIs of his career and scored for the 1,889th time.
Rodriguez pulled to within five RBI from tying Musial for fifth place on the all-time RBI list but he is still 60 runs short behind Musial for eighth place on the career runs scored list.
Another third baseman, Atlanta’s Chipper Jones, is on his farewell tour, set to retire after this season, his 19th in the majors. His most recent milestone is a combination of nine offensive stats.
Jones has become the fifth player in major league history to register at least 1,500 walks, 2,500 hits, 1,500 runs, 500 doubles, 450 home runs and 1,500 RBI while hitting .300 with a .400 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage. Jones has joined Musial and three others – Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.
When Jim Thome hit a pinch-hit home run on June 24, he set a new MLB record for walk-off home runs in a career with 13. Thome had been tied with Musial and four other Hall of Famers – Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Robinson and Mickey Mantle.
It all began on September 17, 1941.