TEMPE, Ariz. — It’s perhaps Major League Baseball’s most exclusive and esteemed club.
Just three men have ever accomplished the feat in baseball history, and only two in the last 85 seasons.
It’s the 700-home run club. The only members are Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.
Now, with Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols sitting on 662 home runs, if he gets close this year and has a legitimate chance to join the trio, he’d like to march on and keep playing past this season with a chance to be among baseball’s immortals.
“If I’m close to it, why not?” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t try to chase numbers, but 700 is a big number.
“If I don’t re-sign with the Angels, I’m going to have to find a team that will give me that opportunity. I just wish I had been able to stay healthy and didn’t have those injuries. Can you imagine if I had kept the pace I was on when I was in St. Louis? I’d have 800 homers by now.’’
Pujols passed Willie Mays (660) last season for fifth on the all-time home run list. Next up is Alex Rodriguez (696), who retired before he could reach the 700-homer milestone.
Pujols, who enters his 20th major league season, is in the final year of his 10-year, $240 million contract.