History was made at Angel Stadium on Wednesday night.
In the fourth inning of his team’s win over the Pirates (LAA 7, PIT 4), Angels slugger Albert Pujols became the all-time hits leader among players born outside the United States. The milestone hit was a single that drove in fellow future Hall of Famer Mike Trout.
Here is the history-making base hit:
“It’s pretty special. but I give all the glory to God, first of all,” Pujols told reporters, including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, following the game. “I don’t play for the records. It’s good to have on your resume as a ballplayer, but there are so many people around me who helped me along the way to get where I am today. That includes my wife, my kids, my family and my coaches I had in the past.”
Pujols was born in the Dominican Republic and lived there until his family moved to the United States when he was a teenager. He is already the all-time home-run king among foreign-born players — Pujols broke Sammy Sosa’s record in 2017 — and now he is the all-time hits king as well.
Here is the hits leaderboard among players born outside the United States:
- Albert Pujols: 3,168
- Adrian Beltre: 3,166
- Ichiro Suzuki: 3,089
- Rod Carew: 3,053
- Rafael Palmeiro: 3,020
The great Roberto Clemente is the only only foreign-born player with 3,000 career hits. He had 3,000 hits on the nose when he died tragically in 1972. Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera should become the seventh foreign-born player in the 3,000-hit club within a few years. He comes into Thursday with 2,786 career hits.
Pujols, 39, is hitting .242/.299/.433 with 18 home runs this season. His production has slipped as he’s aged, but Pujols was the best player of his generation and he will go down as one of the most dominant right-handed hitters in baseball history.
“At the end of the day, when I’m done with this game, I’ll have plenty of time to look back on my career,” Pujols added while speaking to Bollinger.