In hitting his 699th and 700th home runs at Dodger Stadium on Friday night, Albert Pujols became the fourth player in the 700-homer club, joining Barry Bonds, Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth.
That also makes Pujols the first Latino player to reach the mark — doing so during Hispanic Heritage Month, of all times. He’s toward the top of numerous all-time lists, and has firmly cemented himself as the most decorated foreign-born position player in the sport’s history.
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Here’s a look at how Pujols has staked his claim as the most accomplished foreign-born player in MLB:
Entering the 2001 season — when Pujols debuted — the all-time HR leader among foreign-born players was José Canseco, with 446, followed by Rafael Palmeiro (400), Sammy Sosa (386), Orlando Cepeda (379) and Tony Pérez (379). Of course, the top of that list changed dramatically over the ensuing years. By the time Pujols was in a spot to challenge the all-time foreign-born record, that number was Sosa’s 609.
Pujols has led all foreign-born players in homers since he hit number 610 on Aug. 22, 2017. Now, he’s set the standard at 700.
Wins Above Replacement
Entering 2001, Roberto Clemente’s 94.8 career WAR, per Baseball Reference, led all foreign-born position players, ahead of Rod Carew’s 81.2 and Roberto Alomar’s 60. Clemente’s status as the leader stayed until Pujols — now up to 101 WAR — passed him, but the rest of the list changed drastically.
Pujols now leads, surpassing 94.8 WAR initially sometime in the 2014 season, with Clemente second. But Adrián Beltré, who attended the game Friday to watch Pujols, is now third among foreign-born players with 93.5 WAR. The top 10 list now includes Larry Walker (72.7), Palmeiro (71.9), Carlos Beltrán (70.1), Manny Ramírez (69.3), Iván Rodríguez (68.7) and Robinson Canó (68.1). Overall, Pujols is 20th among position players.
When Pujols debuted, Pérez was the all-time leader in extra-base hits among foreign-born players, with 963. That list looks quite different today, with Pérez now ranking 11th. Pujols leads, with 1,401, ahead of David Ortiz and Palmeiro, with exactly 1,192 each. When Pujols became the all-time foreign-born leader in August 2016, it was Palmeiro that he passed, with Ortiz catching Palmeiro later in the season.
Overall, Pujols is third all-time, behind Aaron (1,477) and Bonds (1,440).
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Entering 2001, Pérez led all foreign-born players with 1,652 RBIs, and Chili Davis was second with 1,372. By the time it was Pujols’ turn to take over the lead on the list in April 2017, he passed Palmeiro, who had 1,834. Palmeiro is now third, with Miguel Cabrera second at 1,843 RBIs. Pérez is now eighth, with Ramírez (1,831), Ortiz (1,768), Beltré (1,707) and Sosa (1,667) ahead of him on the list.
Pujols’ 2,208 RBIs lead the list among foreign-born players and rank second all-time, behind only Aaron (2,297 RBIs). Note: RBIs have been an official stat since 1920.
When Pujols got to the Majors in 2001, there were just two foreign-born members of the 3,000-hit club: Carew, with 3,053, and Clemente, with 3,000. Today, there are seven foreign-born players with at least 3,000 hits. When Pujols became the leader on that list in August 2019, he passed Beltré, who totaled 3,166 hits. Ichiro Suzuki is third, at 3,089, and Cabrera fourth with 3,082. Carew is now fifth, followed by Palmeiro with 3,020, and then Clemente.