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Pujols passes A-Rod on all-time RBI list

@RhettBollinger
August 25, 2020

Albert Pujols has had an illustrious 20-year career and is now second all time in RBIs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, reaching the milestone on an RBI single off Astros left-hander Framber Valdez in the fifth inning of an 11-4 loss on Monday. Pujols passed Alex Rodriguez on the

Albert Pujols has had an illustrious 20-year career and is now second all time in RBIs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, reaching the milestone on an RBI single off Astros left-hander Framber Valdez in the fifth inning of an 11-4 loss on Monday.

Pujols passed Alex Rodriguez on the all-time RBI list with 2,087 and now stands alone at second to Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who had 2,297 in 23 seasons. With two outs, Pujols ripped a single to left on an 0-1 curveball from Valdez, scoring Mike Trout.

Box score

"Definitely an honor," Pujols said. "What A-Rod has done in this game, the guy is a legend. The guy had an unbelievable career but for me, I tell you guys every time, my job is to try to go out there and try to do the best I can to try to help this ballclub to win. I'm not here to chase records. Twenty years ago when I started my rookie season, that was never my goal.

“Obviously, I thank God for this privilege and honor that he has given me to be able to accomplish what I have done in the game. It's pretty special."

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Rodriguez tweeted his congratulations to Pujols, calling him "one of the best hitters ever and an incredible person." Rodriguez also told FOX Sports West’s Jose Mota that he plans to be in attendance when Pujols passes him on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez hit 696 career blasts and Pujols is at 659, one homer away from tying Willie Mays for fifth on the all-time home run list.

“I think I still have a lot of fuel in me," said Pujols, 40, who will be in the last year of his contract next season. "Just to be out there in the top five, top six in home runs is pretty special. So, if the opportunity comes and I do it, great. But if it doesn't, there's no regret."

The RBI record book can be a bit confusing for a couple of reasons, however. For starters, RBIs did not become an official stat until 1920, which means that Elias does not consider Babe Ruth and Cap Anson to be members of the 2,000-RBI club, even though they are listed as having reached that milestone in some places that retroactively include all RBIs accrued prior to 1920. On those lists, Ruth is listed ahead of Pujols.

Additionally, due to the uncertain nature of record keeping in the early part of the 20th century, some discrepancies exist between the stats provided today by different historical data providers. For example, some sources list Ruth as having 2,214 RBIs, while others have him at 2,213.

Players with 2,000 RBIs

But it’s still an incredible amount of RBIs in a career, and Angels manager Joe Maddon is in awe of what Pujols has accomplished. Pujols, a three-time MVP and 10-time All-Star, is also the only member of the 650-homer, 650-double club.

"It’s pretty substantial,” Maddon said. “You look at Albert’s career, it’s magnificent. When he eventually hangs them up and he has a chance to sit at home and smoke a cigar in his backyard and really reflect on everything, it’s a daunting career, what he’s done. Bully for him. He’s been working, helping on the bench, we’re all very happy he was able to do that."

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Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval, who gave up five runs over 2 2/3 innings to get charged with the loss, was born in 1996, or just five years before Pujols’ National League Rookie of the Year season in 2001. So he watched plenty of Pujols growing up and is also amazed by what his teammate has done.

"It’s unbelievable,” Sandoval said. “A long career like that and the accolades and all the records he has, I’m glad that I was there to witness it. All the congrats in the world to him."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.