Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ most forgettable game of the season, an 11-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 23, also produced one of the most memorable moments in MLB history as Albert Pujols became the fourth player to hit 700 home runs.
Pujols blasted his 699th home run in the third inning off Andrew Heaney, and then in the fourth, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts turned to Phil Bickford against the future Hall of Famer. However, things didn’t go as the skipper envisioned.
With two runners on base, Bickford became part of MLB history as the pitcher to give up the 700th home run of Pujols’ career.
Video of Roberts showed him initially celebrate as the ball left Pujols’ bat, before he quickly stopped and dropped his head in frustration.
Roberts’ reaction to Pujols’ 700th home run went viral, which he acknowledged during an interview on MLB Network Radio, and also explained he was happy to witness history:
“You know, I was very happy for Albert. I’ve become a meme, as my daughter says. It’s one of those things that you see the ball leave his bat, and you’re just curious. There’s anticipation there, but obviously as a competitor, that was a second homer we gave up and I wasn’t happy about that one. But then I quickly took a step back and you’ve got to realize the moment is bigger than the Dodgers. It’s about Albert and baseball history.
“For him to do it at Dodger Stadium, I don’t think there’s a better place outside of Busch (Stadium) in St. Louis. For him to do it at Dodger Stadium, I thought was special for him and his family that was there. Quite the moment. Phil Bickford is going to be a trivia answer for quite some time now. It was great and I couldn’t be more happy for Albert.”
While running the bases, Pujols threw his arms out in celebration and after touching home plate, he immediately went over to high-five fellow Dominican Republic native Adrián Beltré in the front row of the Dugout Club. Dodger Stadium then treated Pujols to a standing ovation and curtain call.
Bickford also shared a similar reaction to his manager. “At first I was upset that I gave up a home run,” he said.
“And then when the crowd reacted and seeing all the smiles, it was a very special moment for MLB. And Albert Pujols is also one of the most amazing people I have ever met. After I got over the being upset again at the home run, towards the very end of it, it was obviously a very special moment.”
Albert Pujols credits Dodgers after reaching 700 home runs
Pujols signed with the Dodgers for the 2021 season after unexpectedly getting released by the L.A. Angels. He ended up providing a positive impact on the clubhouse and embraced his role as a bench player.
While he was back at Dodger Stadium for the first time since signing with the Cardinals, Pujols reflected fondly on his experience with the Dodgers. “I was so grateful and thankful for the opportunity to play with that organization last year,” he said.
“They brought me so much joy and welcomed me. It was pretty special.”
Pujols went on to mention the organization as having played a significant impact on him hitting 700 home runs.
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