LOS ANGELES – A few months ago, when the season was advancing rapidly and clarity was lagging behind, Albert Pujols voted on it. He gathered his wife and five children and walked across the room and asked each of them the same question:
Is It Time To Retire?
Only one family member voted as Pujols in the major leagues for 2021 last year: his youngest daughter, 9-year-old Esther Grace, who wants more time at home with dad. Everyone else wanted Pujols to continue his 42-year season in 2022, either because they think he can still do it, or because they want him to hit 700 home runs, or because they can’t imagine life any other way.
Pujols, 41, still doesn’t know and he wants to wait until he does.
“The last thing I want to do is sit at home in a year and say, ‘Damn it, why did I do this?'” He says. “I want to make sure it is because I don’t want to say ‘shoot’ and then try to come back. If I say I’m done, I’m done. “
It was a warm Tuesday afternoon in a quiet Dodger Stadium several weeks after the family vote. In 30 minutes, Pujols would be doing his usual two-hour workout. In four hours the first throw would be thrown, in another game it would not start. This is his life now, in the third decade of one of the most successful careers in baseball history. After a dominant eleven-year run with the St. Louis Cardinals and grueling nine seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Pujols – one of only three men to have 600 homers, 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBIs – is a pinch. Striking specialist for a Los Angeles Dodgers team that is one of the most highly decorated in recent times.