Street. Lewis – Take a walk through Homer’s history with star Cardinals Albert Pujols, and the first thing to note is the incredible photographic memory the player has when it comes to summoning the facing shooters, the positions of balls in and out of the strike zone, the swing of the pitches and his own feelings on the nights involved.
Referring to his famous nickname, “The Machine,” Pujols seems to have had the biggest home run moments of his legendary career burned into his brain like gigabytes of data stored on a thumb drive. Ditch the running number at home, and within seconds, Pujols can tell you the feel of his swing leading up to the big moment, the bowler he was facing and the location of the field before being sent into orbit and over the fence.
Pujols, 42, is in the final MLB season of a career that will eventually end in Cooperstown in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is one of the greatest home hitters the game has ever seen. It’s on the cusp of joining the club of 700 homes – an exclusive plateau and often out of reach even for some of the game’s historical figures. The Pujols, with 698 homers, sit behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).
Along the way, his highly trained photographic memory helped him prepare for bats and big moments with quick recalls of merchandising patterns from the past. Don’t become one of the only four players to have at least 3,000 hits and 600 home runs (Willy Maes, Alex Rodriguez, Aaron and Pujols) without using everything at your disposal to reach the stratosphere with truly rare air.
“A lot of these [milestone home runs] They are all special moments, so, of course, I will remember them. But I’m actually able to remember many of the rackets and bowlers I’ve encountered because I’ve watched a lot of videos in my 22 years,” Pujols said of his prep work before matches. “In a lot of my rackets, I can still tell you how many, what I was thinking and where the pitch was. . Things like that stay with me.
“I don’t like calling myself a ‘machine,’ but my brain seems to register it and remember it for later,” “Even if I don’t remember all the details, I can only see a few seconds of a clip and then all of a sudden, I can remember everything about the at-bat.” With the big moments, I remember every detail because I watch hours and hours and hours of video, and it’s all stored in my iPad. I still watch videos from 2008, 2009 and 2006 – some of the best years of my career – to see what works best for me. I think That my memory of the bat is like a pattern in my brain and you remember all about those moments.”
As Pujols approaches 700 career journeys home, he shares, in his own words, what he remembers about the major runs that came before.
First home race: April 6, 2001, the Cardinals in linebacker D, ran twice at home from Armando Renoso
“That night, I was thinking that I just had a really bad case [opening] A series in Colorado and there was a very good chance I’d be back in the minor leagues if I didn’t do something. But I was able to have a really strong streak in Arizona and was able to last for 22 years.
“I’ve always been a great fastball player, especially if that’s the case. Reynoso left that fastball. I’ve always had a good, level swing and managed to swing really well at it. Back then, social media wasn’t like it is now. I think once Game over, I was watching ‘SportsCenter’ to see if he was there. But for me, I remember that moment was just feeling good about our ability to score in the Major League. Once again, this home race helped the team win, and that’s my focus Always “.
Number 100 on his land: July 20, 2003, Cardinals at the Dodgers, twice home tour of Odalis Perez
“It was against the Dodgers and Odalis Perez to midfield. It was Sunday baseball night, and I can still remember how good one felt. She had good ground, and I’ve always had a good run against Odalis Perez. I got the field halfway and led her right into the center Anytime you can hit the house that leads in running and help the team take the lead, that’s more special. I never focus on trying to hit the house; for me it’s more about having good rackets. When they come, they come because I have skill Good at bats.”
Number 200 on his land: September 30, 2005, the Reds at the Cardinals, Grand Slam off Matt Bilisle
“Rules loaded… Grand Slam… vs. Cincinnati. The bat you used there belongs to [current ESPN MLB analyst] Eduardo Perez, who was my teammate at the time. By and large, I knew it was gone as soon as it left the bat. When you do a good swing, you know right away most of the time. You hit it well.
“I’ve had Grand Slams in the 200 and the 600. It’s not really that much different. I mean, it’s a Grand Slam and it’s always great, but when you get to a milestone like that, it’s going to be special no matter what kind of home run it is.”
Number 300 on his land: Jul 4, 2008 The Cardinals’ Cubs Flee Home Alone From Bob Horry
“I think it was a fast ball midfield, and I really had to stay inside that court. I don’t even know how to keep that ball fair because of where that ball is. So he made it special. Also, I was very happy that I was able to do that at Busch and do it in front of our fans.” That was big for me.”
Number 400 on his land: August 26, 2010, Cardinals at the Nationals, Solo HR off Jordan Zimmerman
“I came into that series swinging a really good racket and I’ve had success before against Zimmermann. He left good ground up and away and I was able to drive it. For my 400 home race it was one of the best flips of the night.
“That was just one of those moments in history when everyone knows what’s going on with me sitting at 399, and everyone expects me to get to 400. As it turns out, I had a great moment that night.”
Number 500 on his land: April 22, 2014, Angels at the Nationals, double race at home off Taylor Jordan
“I came in that night with the 498 and then hit the 499 on my first hit and the 500 came right after that. It was a lot of the same thing as the other big home games – I came in swinging the bat really well. Who – that [500th home run] It came within a month when I was injured [nine]. I swung the bat really well in this stretch and was healthy.
“I got two that day for 500, then the next day [series] We went to Yankee Stadium and I got a 501. Before that, everyone was talking about if I was going to hit the 500 at Yankee Stadium, but I did it in Washington instead.
“When I got to this point, I was like, ‘Wow, I got to 400 and then 500 here [in Washington, D.C]And I began to wonder if 600 would likely come to Washington, too. Every time I go there it is a special memory that I think of and how special my teammates were in helping me celebrate that moment. After you go over 300, which is a lot of home runs, they all become a lot more special. At first, I was thinking, “Wow, 500 is a huge number,” but then 600 was really huge as well. I think if I could get to 700, that would be even crazier.”
600 on his land: June 3, 2017, Twins in Angels, Grand Slam off Irvin Santana
“It was 600 in a fastball from Irvin Santana, and it was kind of like with 3,000 hits I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to get it done and hit that night. That was one of the times I hit a milestone, and I didn’t swing the bat very well at all during this Extension. I wanted it [600th homer] Too bad, and I was putting too much pressure on myself.
“When I saw the ball soaring through the air, I knew I had it because I put a good swing on it. In that match, I did it in style — Grand Slam, a packed Anaheim football field, and it was a really special and great match for me.
“Of all the milestones, the most beautiful thing was mostly the fact that we were able to go out and win that night. When you win the game, you can really celebrate it the right way. Doing it in front of the fans who cheer for you and love and support you and your family, it just makes it all the more special. “.