Albert Pujols joins Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez in 2,000-RBI club

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols reached another incredible milestone in his Hall of Fame-worthy career.

With a homer during Thursday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, Pujols became just the third player in Major League Baseball history to join the 2,000-RBI club.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Pujols trails only Hank Aaron (2,297) and Alex Rodriguez (2,086) on the all-time list. The 19-year veteran passed Barry Bonds: (1,996), Lou Gehrig: (1,994) and Babe Ruth (1,992) during the 2019 season.

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Despite a decline in health and overall production, Pujols has remained a force when it comes to driving in runs. He has topped 95 in every season he has played at least 140 games. That includes totals of 119 and 101 in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Decorated career

Though his production has dipped during his later years, Pujols is no stranger to reaching milestones. In 2017, he became the ninth member of the exclusive 600 home run club by launching a grand slam at Angel Stadium. In 2018, he reached 3,000 career hits. For his career, Pujols is a .300 hitter, checking in at (.302/.382/.553 update this).

Along the way Pujols had earned numerous accolades and awards. As a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols took home the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2001 and won three NL MVP awards. He's a two-time World Series champion, winning both with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011, and a 10-time All-Star.

Based on production and his lack of a connection to performance-enhancing drugs, Pujols is a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

Los Angeles Angels' first baseman Albert Pujols is the third player in MLB's 2,000-RBI club, joining Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Angels' first baseman Albert Pujols is the third player in MLB's 2,000-RBI club, joining Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Pujols' true RBI rank

There has been some controversy and confusion concerning where Pujols ranks on the all-time RBI list. The root issue is that RBIs did not become an official statistic until the 1920 season, which means the Elias Sports Bureau’s official stats list notably lower RBI totals for players whose career pre-1920. The most notable players in this instance being Babe Ruth and Cap Anson.

On the other hand, the website Baseball-Reference has retroactively accrued the pre-1920 RBI totals for Ruth and Anson. According to that website, Ruth's career RBI total is 2,214, which would rank second all time. Baseball-Reference also considers Anson, who played from 1871-1897, a member of the 2,000 club. He's listed with 2,075.

Elias has refrained from applying those numbers because of concerns about accuracy when compiling stats prior to 1920. So while we can safely assume Ruth produced well beyond 2,000 RBIs, there's no way of knowing the true number. As such, he'll remain below Pujols on Elias’ all-time rankings.

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