Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols and star two-way player Shohei Ohtani each made history during Thursday night’s game featuring the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Albert Pujols became the sixth player in Major League history to hit at least 200 home runs with two different teams. After hitting 450 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals and the 200th home run of his Angels’ career coming Thursday night, Pujols’ career total now sits at 645 for his illustrious Major League career. If Pujols manages to stay healthy this season, he could catch Willie Mays (660) at number five on the all-time home run leaderboard.
According to STATS LLC, Pujols joins Jimmie Foxx: Philadelphia Athletics (302), Red Sox (222), Mark McGwire: Oakland Athletics (363), Cardinals (220), Rafael Palmeiro: Rangers (321), Orioles (223), Ken Griffey Jr.: Mariners (417), Reds (210), and Manny Ramírez: Red Sox (274), Indians (236) as the only players to ever accomplish the feat.
Heading into Thursday night’s game, Pujols has been hitting a productive .236/.313/.448 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI across 230 plate appearances. While Pujols is just a shell of what he once was, he is having his most productive season since 2016 at the plate.
“It feels like he is breaking records or setting new milestones every other day, so that shows you how great of a player he is,” said Angels’ designated hitter Shohei Ohtani through an interpreter. “Another great thing I have learned from him is his work ethic, like how much work he puts in in the cage every day behind the scenes, and it really helps me.”
Speaking of Shohei Ohtani, the two-way phenom became the first Japanese-born Major Leaguer to ever hit for the cycle on Thursday.
Ohtani gave the Angels a 3-0 lead in the first inning by ripping a three-run home run to left-center field in the first inning off of Ryan Yarbrough. Ohtani then doubled in the third inning, tripled in the fifth, and singled in the seventh to complete the historic accomplishment.
Ohtani became just the second player to hit for the cycle in 2019 with the first coming from Jorge Polanco of the Minnesota Twins, who did so on April 5 against the Phillies. The last Angel to hit for the cycle was none other than Mike Trout on May 21, 2013 against the Seattle Mariners.
The Angels’ designated hitter brought his season totals up to .281/.350/.512 with eight home runs after getting off to a slow start after not making his season debut until May 7. Ohtani has been particularly impressive as of late since June 4th. Since then, Ohtani holds a 1.517 OPS, second only to reigning National League Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich.
After a 36-minute power-outage delay in Tropicana Field, the Angels’ defeated the home team 5-3 while Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols both had historic nights. It doesn’t get better than that (especially as an Angels fan myself). It is always nice to see your team come through with a victory, but watching history be made feels so much more special. Now, Ohtani has yet another accomplishment in his short career while Pujols’ legacy continues to grow with the slugger continuing to add to his Hall of Fame credentials.