Angels' Albert Pujols collects 2,000th RBI with solo homer, joins one of baseball's most exclusive clubs

Angels first baseman Albert Pujols on Thursday became just the fifth player in MLB history to drive in at least 2,000 runs. Pujols knocked in his 2,000th run with a solo homer off Tigers' lefty Ryan Carpenter.

Here's the unofficial career RBI leaderboard: 

Player Career RBI

Hank Aaron

2,297

Babe Ruth

2,214

Alex Rodriguez

2,086

Cap Anson

2,075

Albert Pujols

2,000


Pujols' uncertain standing on the all-time leaderboard is due to the fact that the RBI didn't become an official stat until 1920. While we can pretty accurately back-count RBI, MLB and Elias don't count RBI before 1920. That means Cap Anson's RBI are off their board entirely (his playing career ended following the 1897 season), and Babe Ruth's total is reduced by more than 224 (his retroactive RBI total from 1914 through 1919). And that's why Pujols is third on MLB's RBI leaderboard but fifth on that of Baseball-Reference.

Pujols now becomes just the third player in MLB history -- alongside Aaron and Rodriguez -- to have at least 3,000 hits; 600 home runs; and 2,000 RBI. 

Pujols, 39, hasn't been a productive hitter since 2016, and given his age it's unlikely he's going to rediscover sustained productivity. However, he's also under contract through the 2021 season, which means he figures to have opportunity to add to those already impressive career totals. 

When it comes to estimating where Pujols will wind up on the various career leaderboards, we'll turn to a Bill James concoction called the Favorite Toy. The Favorite Toy takes inputs like the players age and recent performance trends in order to project a career total for the statistical category in question and also rate of his chances of reaching a given benchmark. It's a quick-and-dirty tool, to be sure, but it's sufficient for these purposes. Will project out Pujols' current 2019 totals to full season levels so as to simplify the projections. Right now the Favorite Toy projects Pujols to end his career with: 

  • 3,369 hits (10th all-time)
  • 688 home runs (fifth all-time)
  • 2,177 RBI (third all-time)
  • 1,916 runs scored (12th all-time)
  • 702 doubles (fifth all-time)
  • 6,168 total bases (second all-time)

However the remainder of Pujols' career goes and whatever depths he reaches in terms of his ongoing decline phase, he's already an unassailable first-ballot Hall of Famer. He'll rightly be remembered as one of the great right-handed hitters in baseball history, and the occasion of his 2,000th RBI is a recent reminder of his lofty standing. 

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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