“Good Guy Amongst Bad People:
Home Runs, what makes baseball special to watch.
Think of home runs, and you tend to forget all the great ones of the early years, because the clouds of the steroid era are like a wet fog that suffocates everything.
Yes, the Babe was a man before his time, and the 714-total George Herman Ruth put up will stand forever.
And he all recall the enormous performances of Hammerin Hank, when the Braves Henry Aaron caught and passed Ruth.
Since then there has been only stain on the record books.
When you think modern day home run hitters, you think of the ilk that Barry Bonds was. You feel cheated by the home run derby era of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. You felt betrayed by all things Manny Ramirez.
You think of all the ugliness that surrounded the career of Alex Rodriguez, the lies and the accomplishments.
Maybe this weekend helps heal that.
Albert Pujos, the iconic Cardinals slugger, who has toiled recently in obscurity with the Angels, just crushed his 600th career homer this weekend. And crushed it was, a grand slam shot too.
He joins an elite group of nine batters in the category of 600-plus.
He and Ken Griffey stand by themselves. They did it without cheating, did it without steroids, did it on athleticism, and dedication.
Pujols is in his 17th year in the majors. Whereas others, like Griffey, were first round picks, Pujols was a 13th round pick of the Cardinals in 1999.
Think of that, a player taken 452nd, will wind up in the record books, and likely in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
As he rounded third base this past weekend, as the many baseball fans in Orange County stood and saluted him at Angels Stadium, as his dugout emptied, you have to feel good about Albert Pujols, player and person..
Yes the Angels overpaid for an aging player. Yes he has had a history of injuries since arriving at the Big A. Yes some of his production has dropped off year by year..
But he has been a quality employee, teammate, and citizen both in St. Louis and now in Anaheim. His at bats are well covered. His non stop charity work is unmatched in both cities, and hardly ever recognized..
Albert Pujols, 600-home runs. Salute him for the accomplishment.
He did it with talent, passion, professionalism and honesty. That’s what baseball players-turned heroes-should be all about.