Adding yet another bullet to his Hall of Fame plaque, Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hit his 661st career home run Friday, passing Willie Mays for fifth on baseball’s all-time list.
Pujols took Texas Rangers relief pitcher Wes Benjamin deep in the fifth inning for the historic homer.
Mays’ career mark of 660 long stood as the third-most – behind Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth – until that number was overtaken by Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez in the 21st century.
The 40-year-old Pujols, playing in his 20th season, began his career with 12 consecutive years with at least 30 home runs, averaging 40 a season with a .325 average from 2001-2012.
Pujols was named NL MVP three times with the Cardinals (2005, 2008, 2009) and finished runner-up on four other occasions. He won World Series titles with the team in 2006 and 2011 before signing a 10-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels before the 2012 season.
His productivity largely declined with the Angels (.258/.314/.450 from 2012-2019), but Pujols has continued to pad his power numbers with the team. He is due $30 million in 2021, the final year of his contract.
Pujols recorded his 3,000th career hit in 2018 and is baseball’s active leader in career hits, runs and RBI.