ANAHEIM -- Having reached the 3,000-hit milestone during his Hall of Fame career, Twins manager Paul Molitor knows all about the significance of reaching some of baseball's hallowed marks.So Molitor also understood how much of a relief it was for Jose Pujols to reach career homer No. 600 with his
ANAHEIM -- Having reached the 3,000-hit milestone during his Hall of Fame career, Twins manager Paul Molitor knows all about the significance of reaching some of baseball's hallowed marks.
So Molitor also understood how much of a relief it was for Jose Pujols to reach career homer No. 600 with his grand slam off Twins right-hander Ervin Santana on Saturday. And as a student of the game and its history, he also wanted to make sure his players knew the significance of what they witnessed in the 7-2 loss.
"I think guys should take a step back, and despite the loss, realize that getting the chance to watch something of that magnitude is pretty special," said Molitor, who received a signed bat from Pujols during the series. "It's a memory that's created that you're able to be a part of because you're in this game."
:: Albert Pujols 600-HR club coverage ::
Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, a six-time All-Star and former American League MVP, saw a 600th homer for a second time, as he was Jim Thome's teammate when he reached the 600-homer plateau in 2011. Thome and Pujols are among the nine players to reach 600:
Barry Bonds (762)
Hank Aaron (755)
Babe Ruth (714)
Alexander Rodriguez (696)
Willie Mays (660)
Ken Griffey Jr. (630)
Sammy Sosa (609)
Albert Pujols (600)
"Not many guys have done that but I've been fortunate enough to see two," Mauer said. "As a teammate, it's a lot more fun. But he's had an amazing career. And he did it in a unique way with a grand slam, coming off maybe the game's best pitcher at the moment. It was something I'll always remember."
Mauer said he's known Pujols for nearly 10 years, meeting him for the first time in 2009, when the Cardinals and Twins met in Interleague play in St. Louis.
"Knowing Albert from the other side, I know how hard he works and for him to be successful for that period of time, it's really amazing," Mauer said. "I've got to know him pretty well. I remember in '09, it was the first time our paths crossed. He [sought] me and [Justin] Morneau out. He's a fan of baseball and appreciates guys who play the game the right way. I'll always remember that first interaction I had with him and all our conversations we've had talking baseball."
:: 600-HOME RUN CLUB ::
Twins second baseman James Dozier, who hit a career-high 42 homers last season, noted just how difficult the milestone is to reach, as you'd have to average 40 homers for 15 years or 30 homers for 20 years to get to 600.
"I was joking with him the first game, telling him I was proud of him and I've had fun watching him over the years, but not to hit 600 against us," Dozier said. "Obviously, the winning comes first, but when someone reaches a milestone, and you get to somewhat be a part of it, it's pretty cool to see. When you put the numbers in perspective, it's a lot of homers."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.