What makes Pujols one of the best ever as he joins 700 club (2:58)

Albert Pujols is one of the best hitters of all time, according to Joe Buck. There is a time and a place for it.

Two decades. Home runs.

Only three other players in the history of the game have matched Pujols' level of greatness when he hit his 700th home run. He is one of four players who have hit 700 home runs.

Current and former teammates, opposing pitchers and other greats in the game were asked what their favorite moments in the game were and what it was like to pitch to and watch.

The home runs we just can't forget

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It's for 600. This is going to be really bad.

He hit 600. It's just the situation. Everyone was thinking the same thing in that spot. It's for 600. This is going to be really bad. He struck it. The moment is something he loves. People kept asking me if I thought he would get it. It's for certain. Albert doesn't try to hit a home run. He is trying to hit the ball well. That is large.

The third game of the World Series? He was going to hit it out if you threw the rosin bag.

It was amazing. He was not gone. He would hit it if you threw it. If you threw the rosin bag, he was going to hit it. There's a swing. His first home run. I like the way that swing stays in the path. It's great.

Tony La Russa said "That gave us life".

In 2006 we had a big lead and everyone got hurt, so we weren't able to make the playoffs. We had lost the first two games of the series and were down a run in the eighth when the Padres brought in a good pitcher and he hit a three-run home run. That made us live.

He is a high-average hitter who has power. The man plays the game. He's trying to hit a line-drive single with a runner on second and he might get all of it for a two-run home run. He hits all the pitches when he goes to the foul line. He gets that carry when he gets that under spin.

If you wrote it up perfect, this is what you would write.

I've been amazed at the number of home runs. The one at his eyes was impressive. It's in Pittsburgh. The home run that passed A-Rod was a game winner. There was a game winner when the game was not going to go to overtime. They were against the Padres. It's a two- homer game. I will remember that. Albert with the game on the line is what you would write if you wrote it perfectly. It's amazing.

The secret to hitting 700 home runs

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Nolan Arenado says he doesn't think about home runs.

I'm probably going to say something people don't like, but he doesn't think about home runs. He tells me that and I agree with him. He says he doesn't think about it because of the way he works. What has worked for him will not be changed. It's about getting on top of the baseball and spinning it. He talks the talk while walking the walk. I think he is right.

Mark McGwire said it was all in the hands.

The key to swinging the bat is the bottom hand. Albert is watched. He doesn't let go of that hand until he runs. That's the reason why he's one of the best ever.

The machine makes his own decisions.

He would go up there for his first at-bat and say he was going to hit a home run. I don't know how many times he did it. He knew how they were going to attack him. He was so 888-609- 888-609- 888-609- 888-609-

He has the right to look at his home runs.

You know when you hit 700 home runs. The guy who has three career home runs is the one who got a single after hitting a home run. The guy needs to move fast. You know what it feels like when you reach 700. He is at the top of the list if anyone can give advice on when a ball is going to go over the wall.

His family wasn't going to eat unless he paid the pitcher.

You can't describe how special he is. He's always on top of things. I have never seen a hitter who wouldn't give away an at-bat. He didn't care if he had four hits or not, he walked up to the fifth one and demanded that the pitcher pay. The consistency sticks out even though he was sent home at the end of spring training.

We are talking 800 or 850 if Albert doesn't get hurt.

We're talking about 800 or 850 home runs if Albert doesn't get hurt and plays three quarters in Anaheim of how he played here. Your brain tells you that you can't hit righties anymore and you're swinging for the fences when he returns. He has become a pure hitter.

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He's not going to back down. I've seen him throw a knuckleball out to right field and I've also seen him throw a 102 mph pitch out to left field. The guy is very focused on his approach. He took Kyle Farnsworth deep in 2004, and I was sitting on the deck thinking 'WOW'.

He has grown this year from a leg kick to overswinging to a hitter. He hit home runs when he did that. He has another year left in him. I know he won't play, but he can.

What it's like facing Pujols

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It wasn't surprising that he didn't make a mistake.

Lidge had some success against Albert Pujols when he was in the big league. In his second or third year in Lidge's career, Roy Oswalt mentioned that there had been an evolution in the challenge of pitching to Pujols.

It felt like he knew what you were going to throw before you did. You had to be perfect. You had to be perfect because he had so much plate coverage.

Lidge thinks that this is the part of Pujols that isn't fully understood. He was strong, had great hands, great eyes, but he also knew what the pitcher was going to do against him with a high degree of success Lidge said that he knew that he was going to win the chess match more than he should. Pujols was able to foul the ball off if the pitcher was able to execute a bastard pitch. He would be the first person to see it if the pitcher was doing something with his glove or his hands.

All of our coverage from the historic season can be found here.

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5 steps to hit 60HRs.

The Astros were leading the NLCS when Lidge was called on to close out the game. With two outs and two on, Lidge threw a good pitch and Pujols ran after it.

Lidge said that he tried to return with the Slider. He didn't make a mistake because the ball was down in the strike zone but over the heart of the plate. Pujols hit a three-run home run over the train tracks in left field in Houston, smashing against the protective glass.

After Pujols hit a home run, Lidge bumped into him a few times, but didn't talk about it. He feels that Pujols was a hitter who was hard-wired to be a great one.

He hit it over Waveland Avenue.

He missed a changeup that I threw the first time. I'm going to say, "Maybe we got something here." He hit it over Waveland Avenue when I threw the same changeup. Maybe they have something here. This guy is doing well.

You won theAB if you walked him or gave up a single. The middle of the plate was covered by him. I was going to give up a single or less.

He was the best hitter I faced.

He was the best hitter I faced that could do a lot of damage. He could hit a home run off any pitch, a mistake in or out over the plate, or both. He was in his prime when I confronted him. Unless you had a big lead or were down by a lot, he was the guy that you had to be careful of. If you made a mistake and didn't, he was going to hurt you.

More of an expert on how to give up home runs to Albert Pujols than I am.

I'm the most knowledgeable on how to give up home runs to Albert Pujols than anyone else.

People are prepared and have talent. He was better than anyone I've seen or faced. He was always careful about his work. He was playing a video game with a cheat code when the game began. He was aware of what was about to happen. The pitcher would take advantage of it. He didn't give up at-bats. He would give you the same batting average as if it were a tie. He was able to hit pitches that weren't executed and pitches that were executed.

This has been a great event. He got locked in the HR Derby because they put him in a position to have success against left-handed pitchers. When he faces righties, it's just carrying over because he's feeling great.

Mike said he should be thankful that he didn't go deeper.

Mark McGwire was one of the big hitters in the 2001 opening day lineup for the Cards. He didn't know anything about Albert Pujols, a young left fielder who was going to play in his first game that day.

The left-handed pitcher figured he would pitch Pujols the same way he had pitched other right-handed hitters because there wasn't a lot of information on him. "Sink it away, cut it in" was the instructions given to him by his first baseman, who had just signed a $121 million contract with the Rockies. He didn't allow a peep from the Cards for 813 minutes. He joked that his tenure with Colorado went down quickly.

Pujols' first career hit was a seventh-inning single that was the only one of the five hits that was thrown at him. He said that he should be thankful that it was a single through the 6 hole.

There's nobody else like The Machine

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It was like he was a mad scientist.

Albert Pujols inhabited the NL Central in the first half of his career and Alex Rodriguez called him about a pitcher from that division. Rodriguez thought that Pujols would give some observations about the pitcher. Rodriguez said that the conversation would usually last for five minutes. It lasted for 45 minutes. He's telling me about the movement of his pitch and how much he loves it. I have never had a scouting report like that before.

The next generation of stars will be able to reach some of baseball's most famous offensive feats when superstars like Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera are done playing.

A future watch.

Pujols told Rodriguez that if the count is not zero he will throw a curve. He wants to get to his changeup, so if he gets ahead in the count, he's going to throw two fastballs inside.

Rodriguez thinks that he was a mad scientist when he talked to him. He was giving me information on what the guy was going to do.

Rodriguez recalled hitting a double off the pitcher after the game, and Pujols immediately sent him a text. He wanted to know everything that happened. The pitcher would like to be a chess player as well.

Dale Scott said that the man was there to do a job.

Albert Pujols used to compliment Dale Scott on his work calling balls and strikes in the previous game, as he ran or off the field in between. Scott said it could be a situation where he catches your eye and says good job. It didn't happen often. Scott wondered if Pujols had struggled with his strike zone when he wouldn't stop.

Scott shared fields with Pujols over the last 17 seasons of the umpire's career. Scott said that he was happy when he stepped to the plate, but he was there to do a job. Pujols didn't complain about the calls at the plate, but if he had a problem with the home plate umpire, he would be passive- aggressive. The fans would react if the bench saw it. He reminded me of someone else. He was serious, that's for sure. He was surrounded by an aura that he was working.

I won't be at that level. I won't be that guy.

Votto has a clear recollection of the moment when he recognized Pujols' preeminence at the plate. It shows how skilled he was and is.

The Reds first baseman was in his second full season in the majors. The Reds had a three-run lead and David Weathers was called in from the pen.

Votto said nothing rattled the weather. He had a two-pitch command and a fast pitch. He was well-versed in managing large situations. You knew there would be a ball or a strikeout.

When he watched the at-bat again on video to see if his initial reaction was correct, Votto saw Weathers attempt to work off the outside edge of the plate with a back-to-back pitch. The pitch by Weathers was a good one because right-handed hitters had to be aware of how he would cut inside. Pujols was able to get to the pitch and hit it into the seats well beyond left center field.

Votto said he already saw him at a high level. I realized after watching it that I wouldn't be able to reach that level. I won't be that guy.