Albert Pujols joins 700 home run club in defiant final season

Albert Pujols joins 700 home run club in defiant final season
Albert Pujols joins 700 home run club in defiant final season

The end of baseball days arrives with more cruelness than kindness.

Babe Ruth quit in May 1935 with a .181 average and a feud with the owner of his Boston Braves.

Ken Griffey Jr. was hitting .184 with no home runs in June 2010 when he abruptly left the Mariners by driving home to Florida, leaving only a prepared statement of his retirement.

Mike Schmidt was hitting .203 in 1989 when he quit while the Phillies were in San Diego. Asked what he would miss most about baseball, the great third baseman quipped, “Room service French fries.”

Gravity rules. Such is the commonality of falls from grace that the sight of Albert Pujols smiling broadly—his new game face these days—while circling the bases upon hitting career home run number 700 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium was the happy picture of defiance. Pujols defied time and age, not to mention the normal downward arc of his career, with one of the most spectacular exits the baseball gods ever have permitted.