After Albert Pujols passed Alex Rodriguez for 4th most homers in MLB history, the possibility of him reaching 700 homers becomes more and more of a reality. But, where does his Hall of Fame career rank amongst the best sluggers in MLB history?
Since what is expected to be Pujols’ final All-Star weekend, he has slashed .340, .395, .748 with 12 homers in 37 games, leaving him just 3 away from 700.
But, where does Pujols’s current home run total rank against the others in the top five: Barry Bonds, Hand Aaron, Babe Ruth, and A-Rod?
For this comparison, we’ll inflate their overall offensive numbers to the same league average, and calculate their per game numbers to the same number of career games, which is the mean between these five players: 2,926 games.
As specified in the Babe Ruth Outlier section of Stat Inflation, his production basically makes the rest of the ground seem tiers out of his reach.
And, expectedly so, when the player with the third-most homers in MLB history before inflation gets a boost of 132.3% in that category.
So, how would this group even out if we exclude Ruth’s trend-setting production at the dish?
Even factoring out The Babe, these figures still are not favorable to the Cardinal great. With his delation cut in half (from 20.8% to 9.5%), and only losing 25 career games for the average (or about 6 homers in terms of homers per game), Pujols drops about 63 career jacks while the rest of the group rises.
Even though Bonds was the face of the Steroid Era, and A-Rod certainly benefited from some of the most inflated long-ball seasons, the league average they played in all trails Pujols’ career from 2001 to 2022.
While not as egregious as Ruth’s inflation, Hank Aaron deserves appreciation for how above the norm he was in the ‘50s to the ‘70s, adding an additional 63 homers despite taking away 266 games.
But, even though Pujols is a product of his era, he deserves praise for still being a complete hitter while collecting so many homers. The league average hitter over Pujols career not only has one of the greater homers per game figures, it also has one of the highest home run hit type percentage in league history at 12.3%.
Despite maintaining a home run percentage that’s 8.4 points higher than the league average, he’s still above league average in doubles as well, while spraying the ball around for 1,970 singles and a career batting average of .292 (or .295 after inflation).
So, while being one of the best home run hitters the game has ever seen, The Machine always lived up to his nickname, maintaining a line drive approach that could allow him to join only Hank Aaron as members of the 3,000-hit and 700-homer clubs.