Albert Pujols’ pitching debut for Cardinals was an obscure piece of MLB history

·2 min read
Joe Puetz/AP

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has some of the greatest hitting statistics in Major League Baseball history, but he now has an ugly ERA too.

Not that he minds.

Pujols, 42, took the mound Sunday night at Busch Stadium in the Cardinals’ 15-6 win over the San Francisco Giants.

“That was a dream come true and now I can say I did it and it was fun,” Pujols told reporters, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

During a 22-year career, Pujols has 3,312 hits, 681 home runs, 2,156 RBIs ... and one pitching appearance.

Pujols pitched the ninth inning, allowing four runs, three hits (including two home runs) and a walk. That’s a 36.00 ERA and a 4.00 WHIP. His fastball topped out at 66.3 mph, MLB.com said.

That website also noted Pujols joined Babe Ruth as the only players in baseball history with 600 or more home runs to also have pitched.

“I’m pretty sure Babe Ruth didn’t give up four runs in his first inning like I did,” Pujols joked afterward, per MLB.com.

Pujols, the former Fort Osage High School and Maple Woods star, also made history, albeit in an obscure way, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Pujols’ relief appearance came in his 2,988th career game, the most in MLB history by a player at the time of their first pitching appearance. Former Reds star Dave Concepcion is second at 2,441.

The Giants’ Evan Longoria got a hit off Pujols and asked to keep the ball.

That wasn’t the only keepsake from the game. After getting the last out to, ahem, secure the victory, Pujols wanted the ball.

It wasn’t just a memorable experience for Pujols and the Giants batters.

“I’ll put it this way, I did not imagine when I came to the ballpark today that I’d be catching Albert Pujols,” Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizner told the Post-Dispatch. “Like I said, that’s awesome. The fans loved it. And it was just a cool experience.”