Cardinals exec: Albert Pujols nearly retired midseason
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[October 07, 2022]
St. Louis Cardinals slugger
Albert Pujols came on strong at the end of the season, hitting 17
homers in his last 47 games and reaching the 700 milestone for his
career ahead of his planned retirement.
However, the renaissance nearly didn't happen.
Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said
Thursday, according to MLB.com, that Pujols nearly retired in June.
"We were aware that there were some difficult times, but we are so
glad that he was able to marshal through it," Mozeliak said.
Pujols was asked earlier this week if he ever had times when he
regretted coming back to play this year after putting up mediocre
numbers last season for the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles
"I did, I swear I did," he said. "There were some times when I
(asked) myself that, many times."
Pujols, 42, signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with St. Louis
in March, allowing him to finish his career where he began. He was
an All-Star for the Cardinals nine times in his first 11 major
league seasons (2001-11) before signing a 10-year, $240 million free
agent deal with the Angels.
A three-time National League Most Valuable Player during his time
with the Cardinals, Pujols made just one All-Star team during his
decade with the Angels, which ended when he was released last year
and signed with the Dodgers.
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Pujols did little in the first half of the 2022
season to signal that he was about to regain his form. In 62 games
through Aug. 6, he was batting .228 with seven homers and 24 RBIs.
The rest of the season, he hit .324 and drove in nearly a run per
game (44 RBIs in 47 games).
On Sept. 23 at Dodger Stadium, Pujols homered twice to record 700
for his career. He joined Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and
Babe Ruth (714) as the only players to reach that mark, and he
finished the regular season with 703 homers.
"When you have good people around you and they are encouraging you
and you realize that God has opened so many doors for you, man, it
puts things back into perspective," Pujols said, according to
MLB.com. "I decided, ‘I'm going to stick with it!' I knew sooner or
later it was going to come and turn around for me, because it can't
be like it was all year long."
Pujols isn't quite retired yet. He and the Cardinals will open a
best-of-three National League wild-card series against the
Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. All three games will be played in
Pujols joins fellow veterans Adam Wainwright, 41, and Yadier Molina,
40, in attempting to lead the Cardinals to a third World Series
championship within the past 20 years. St. Louis won the title in
2006 and 2011.
--Field Level Media
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