Who was the first person that Albert Pujols high-fived after he hit his 700th career home run on Friday night?
None other than former Texas Rangers third baseman Adrián Beltré.
Pujols hit Nos. 699 and 700 in back-to-back at-bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The second one made him just the fourth player in Major League history — and the first foreign-born player — to reach that feat.
That possibility wasn’t lost on Beltré, who watched the game from a front-row seat at Dodgers Stadium. The two grew up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
This is the first time the two connected on the diamond on a milestone day. Back in May of 2018, Pujols threw out the first pitch to Beltré at a game celebrating Beltré’s milestone of 3,000 hits.
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Pujols is wrapping up his final season. With the home run he joins Barry Bonds (762), Henry Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in the 700 club.
Pujols is pointed toward being a first-ballot Hall of Famer after an incredible 22-year career in which Pujols won two World Series rings in 2006 and 2011, the latter of which came at the expense of the Texas Rangers. Pujols was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player, an 11-time All-Star, six Silver Slugger Awards, led the NL in homers twice and the NL in RBI once. He also won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2008 and was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2001.
Beltré had a full-circle moment himself on Friday. He broke into the Majors with the Dodgers as a 19-year-old and spent seven seasons with the team. He played for Seattle and Boston before joining the Rangers in 2011, where he spent the rest of his career. Already a member of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, his No. 29 is retired by the Rangers. In 2024, he is eligible for Baseball Hall of Fame voting for the first time.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard