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After emigrating from the D.R. — where he learned to hit by smashing limes — Pujols played high school and college baseball near Independence, Mo., and was picked by the Cardinals at No. 402 in the 1999 Draft

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2001: Push to the big leagues

Known as Jose instead of Albert during much of his sole Minor League season, Pujols made the Cards’ Opening Day roster out of Spring Training, had a hit in his first game and hit the first homer of his career vs. Arizona on April 6

Not only was Pujols an All-Star as a rookie, he won the NL’s Rookie of the Year Award unanimously after knocking in a rookie-record 130 runs; he also won the NL Silver Slugger Award for third base

Pujols became the first player in AL/NL history to start a career with 2 straight seasons with a .300 average, 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored

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Oct. 17, 2005: Off the train tracks

No Pujols homer was more clutch and mammoth than his 3-run shot in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS off Astros closer Brad Lidge — one future Pujols teammate, Paul Goldschmidt, was in attendance to see as a fan

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Oct. 22, 2011: 3 HRs in WS game

Pujols admitted that his favorite set of home runs came in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series when he hit 3 long balls off the Rangers; he is among 4 players with 3 home runs in a World Series game

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April 22, 2014: 500

Now with the Angels and at 498 home runs, there was anticipation that Pujols might hit No. 500 in Yankee Stadium, but he ruined the party by hitting Nos. 499 and 500 a few nights earlier in D.C.

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June 3, 2017: 600

Pujols became just the 9th player to join the 600-homer club and he did it in grand fashion, smashing a grand slam just inside the left-field foul pole at Angel Stadium

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June 22, 2019: A hero’s welcome

Back at Busch Stadium for the first time since 2011, Pujols was showered with ovations from Cards fans — including one following a 408-foot home run

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Aug. 29, 2022: Homer history

Pujols set the MLB record by homering off the 450th pitcher of his career (Cincinnati’s Ross Detwiler); former Cub Ryan Dempster surrendered 8 HRs to Pujols

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Sept. 23, 2022: 700

Pujols became just the 4th player with 700 home runs when he smashed Nos. 699 and 700 in Los Angeles; No. 699 was his 200th off a lefty and No. 700 was his 500th off a righty

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Sept.-Oct. 2022: Finishing with a bang

Showing his flair for the dramatic, Pujols homered in his final at-bat vs. the Cubs, homered in his final regular-season at-bat at Busch Stadium and delivered a hard-hit single in his last postseason at-bat