Future Hall of Famer, Albert Pujols has been announced as the 2022 Budweiser Legendary Moment Award winner.
Pujols, who returned to St. Louis last offseason, had not only one of the most memorable moments of this past season but one of the most memorable seasons of his career.
When the Cardinals signed Pujols, many fans throughout baseball considered it a nostalgia signing to bookend his career with the team he came up with. Little did any of us know, that not only would Albert prove he had a lot left in the tank, but he was also one of the driving forces that led St. Louis to a NLC Division title.
Pujols entered the season with a career 679 career homeruns. While some believed he could hit that legendary mark of 700, it came more from optimism than a realistic expectation.
Albert started the season off slow, with just 6 HR before the All-Star break, and almost decided to hang up the cleats before the season ended. But something clicked. And what happened over the remainder of the season had not only Cardinals fans but fans of every team on the edge of their seat much like the 1998 HR race between Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa.
Pujols was “must-see TV”, as he inched closer and closer to making 700 HR a reality.
On Sept. 23, in a game vs the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pujols got a two-strike fastball down the middle from left-hander Andrew Heaney in the third inning and scorched a 434-foot rocket into left-center field for #699.
The following inning, he got a hanging slider from righty Phil Bickford and lifted it 389 feet to become the fourth member of the 700 home run club, (joining Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth) while leading the Cardinals to victory.
Although Cardinal fans would have loved to have Albert hit #700 in St. Louis, Pujols was elated the HR came in Los Angeles. Not just because of his one-year stint with the Dodgers the season before, or decade prior spent with the Angels, but also because his five children were on hand for the momentous occasion.
It truly was a moment that any baseball fan can tell you where they were, and who they were watching the game with when it happened. No doubt, Pujols’ #700 was a legendary moment and well deserving of the 2022 Legendary Moment Award.
Pujols beat out Aaron Judge’s AL record breaking 62 HR, Bryce Harper’s NLCS-clinching HR, and Houston Astros combined no-hitter in the World Series for the award that is voted on by the fans.