Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols hit the 699th home run of his career, and then the 700th — becoming the first Dominican and just the fourth player in baseball history to reach the milestone. .
For Dominican Americans, the spectacular end to a Hall of Fame-worthy career — Pujols has said that this season, his 22nd, will be his last — has made him the perfect symbol of individual achievement in a sport so closely associated with their homeland.
For many in the Dominican Republic, baseball has long been more than a sport — it's recognized as a potential gateway to escape poverty and achieve economic and professional success.
Jesse Sanchez, Major League Baseball's director of talent development and diversity outreach for content, said Pujols is a role model for many.
“He is an inspiration and example of what you can accomplish through hard work and dedication,” said Sanchez, who has covered baseball for decades in Latin America, the Caribbean and the U.S.
Sanchez emphasized that baseball is enmeshed in Dominican society.
"It’s a community-oriented sport, and places like the Dominican Republic have really embraced it.”
“Everything is built around baseball back home in the Dominican Republic,” Solano said