Albert Pujols gifts 697th home run ball to a pair of Pirates fans in touching gesture

The home run ball from Albert Pujols’ 697th shot is in great hands.

The St. Louis Cardinals star hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon, which moved him into sole possession of fourth place in MLB’s all-time home runs list.

He’s three away from hitting the 700 mark in the final stretch of his career.

The fans who caught that ball at PNC Park, Matt and Samantha Brown, tried to return the ball to Pujols after the Cardinals’ 4-3 win.

After meeting with Pujols and sharing their story, Pujols had another idea. Samantha’s father had died exactly a year ago, according to the Belleville News’ Jeff Jones. So, Pujols told them to keep the ball, and signed two more for them on top of it.

The ball, while it would have been a great keepsake for Pujols, is now a historic, and incredibly meaningful, souvenir for the pair of Pirates fans. What a gesture.

Pujols, who is set to retire at the end of the season, is trying to become the fourth player in history to hit at least 700 career home runs. The highest active player on that list, Pujols would join Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds, who leads the all-time list at 762.

The Cardinals have won two straight and lead the NL Central with 21 games left in the regular season.

Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols hit the 697th home run of his career on Sunday afternoon. (Justin Berl/Getty Images)