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Albert Pujols gets 3,000th hit, becoming the 32nd member of the club

He reaches the milestone in his 18th season.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

With 17 seasons in the majors under his belt, Albert Pujols reached the 3,000 hit plateau against the Mariners on Friday with a single to right field off of Mike Leake. The achievement comes in his 11,320th career plate appearance.

He joins the other 31 players to have already reached that club, the most recent addition being the RangersAdrian Beltre last summer.

In case you missed it, here is last night’s hit 2,999 for good measure. The crowd definitely wanted 3,000. Unfortunately, Pujols didn’t get it done on the home stand and instead the milestone happened in Seattle.

And here’s 3,000:

Despite not being at Angel Stadium, the crowd unsurprisingly cheered the achievement. He had a nice curtain call and his teammates swarmed him. A lovely moment.

He is one of four players in MLB history — alongside Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Alex Rodriguez — to have 3,000 hits and 600 home runs.

It’s a shame that this achievement couldn’t have come with the Cardinals, his first team and the one he spent a decade with until 2011. At this point, he’s almost been with the Angels as long as he was with St. Louis but the first red uniform you picture him in is always the Cards. While his production has fallen off in recent years, he still put up 140 or more hits over the last few years in Los Angeles.

When asked about whether he was focusing on the accomplishment after his 2,993 hit, Pujols told MLB.com,

“I don’t want to ignore it. It’s something everybody’s aware of, including myself. But my main focus is to try to help the ballclub win. If I stay healthy, one of these days it’s going to come. I don’t put pressure on myself. I just try to put a good swing, just like I have [for the other other] 2,993.

Sooner or later, seven more will come. I don’t really think about it. It’s hard for me to focus on that. My focus is on helping this ballclub to win.

On the idea of reaching the threshold at home, he said,

I think it’ll be a pretty emotional day, the day it happens. Pretty exciting. I hope at the end of the day, it happens in a game we win. It’ll be more special.”

This won’t be the last major milestone of Pujols’ career, if all goes well. It would take multiple healthy, productive seasons (so, small miracles) for him to reach 700 home runs but the 2,000 RBI club is well within reach. He currently has 1,935 and with 17 already batted in this year even if he falls short of the 101 he hit in 2017 he should join Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Cap Anson, and Alex Rodriguez on that hard-to-reach level.

Beyond that though, this season should be a sort of last hurrah for Pujols. As much of a last hurrah as he can have before the actual retirement lap comes in 2021 when his contract is up in LA. He hasn’t hit above .270 on the season since 2014 and is nowhere near his peak 40-home run performance of a decade ago.

That’s how things go though. He’s one of the best players to ever pick up a bat and we’ll watch him rack up a few more homers and hits over the next three seasons and change before he hangs things up for good. And he’ll do that as at least a member of the 3,000 hit club.