Before a brilliant second half, Albert Pujols nearly ended his career prematurely.

One of the greatest baseball careers in history is coming to an end. After a resurgent year that includes his 700th career home run and an impressive.270/.345/.550 line, St. Louis Cardinals legend and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols announced his intention to retire after the current campaign and will attempt to win the World Series one final time this October.

Despite how good he played this year, Pujols admitted to that he thought about retiring in June because it appeared that he was finished as a major league performer. At the end of June, Pujols was hitting.198/294/.335 and was thinking about quitting baseball.

Pujols didn’t find his rhythm and start the home run tear that led to No. 700 until right before the All-Star break. Pujols slashed from July 10 to the remainder of the season. stats on par with the finest stretches of his peak years: 320/.384/.702 with 20 home homers in just 62 games. He platooned early against lefties and eventually fought his way into the starting order.

Pujols would not be the first Hall of Famer or top athlete to leave the field in the middle of the season. On June 2, 2010, Ken Griffey Jr. retired at the age of 38, and on May 28, 1989, Mike Schmidt did the same. That being considered, a midseason retirement is always unexpected, and it would have been more so with Pujols considering how much he appeared to be relishing his newfound affiliation with the Cardinals.

Pujols, who is now 42, has achieved every goal a player could have in this sport. He amassed the venerable milestones of 3,000 hits and 700 home runs, won three MVP awards, and captured two World Series championships with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. Playing a game just out of passion for it and perhaps another one is all that’s left at this point.

Pujols said, “I want to go out with my best because it’s my last year.” And my biggest achievement is championship success.