Albert Pujols hit home runs 499 and 500 last night and the reaction is rather “ho-hum.” Here’s a reminder as to why.
Number of hitters reaching 500 home runs by decade:
1920s - 1 (Babe Ruth)
1930s - 0
1940s - 2 (Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott)
1950s - 0
1960s - 5 (Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Matthews, Hank Aaron)
1970s - 4 (Ernie Banks, Harmon KIllebrew, Frank Robinson, Willie McCovey)
1980s - 2 (Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt)
1990s - 2 (Eddie Murray, Mark McGwire)
2000s - 9 (Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield
2010s - 1 (Albert Pujols)
You can say what you want about PED users but diluting the importance of 500 home runs was the biggest impact. And we can also stop pretending that steroids didn’t help with power. (This does not mean that the players shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, heck pitchers were using too.)
Maybe people will give Pujols more credit if he’s the only 500 home run hitter of the decade. (Unless you think he took PEDs, too.) But until we get back closer to the norm we’re going to yawn when we hear someone crossed the 500-home run plateau.