WASHINGTON — As the ball left Albert Pujols’ bat and flew over the left- centerfield fence at Nationals Park for his 500th career home run, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper barely moved.
Harper looked over his left shoulder and saw Pujols’ shot land in the red porch seats for the milestone long ball.
It wasn’t the first time that Pujols hit a memorable home run at Nationals Park, nor was it the first time that Harper was a witness to Pujols making history in D.C.
On Aug. 26, 2010, the former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman connected off Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann for his 400th career home run. Harper, who was still 21 months shy of his Major League debut, just happened to be at Nationals Park that day for his introductory press conference after signing his first professional contract ten days earlier.
As part of his first formal visit to Nationals Park, Harper’s itinerary included a brief appearance at batting practice, a formal press conference with the local media, photo ops aplenty, and one inning visits with both the Nats’ radio and television broadcast teams.
It was during Harper’s fourth inning visit to the Nationals’ radio booth that the then-17-year-old watched as Pujols, one of his favorite players growing up, connected on his 400th career home run.
Harper spent the inning with radio voices Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler with Pujols leading off the top of the fourth. Below is a transcript of how the at-bat unfolded, including Harper’s on-air broadcasting debut.
Jageler: Top of the fourth inning, Nationals 3, Cardinals 1. We’re a three- man booth here for this half inning with Bryce Harper joining us- the Nationals first-round pick