06/04/2004: Prince Albert
Here's an interesting article/blogpost which explains pretty nicely why I've been a big fan of Albert Pujols. If you're not a baseball stathead, just skim through the names on the lists Albert appears on. Or if you're too lazy to follow the link, I'll just name them offhand: DiMaggio, Williams (Teddy Ballgame, that is), Musial, Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Greenberg, Bonds (Barry, that is), Mantle, Cobb.
Unfortunately, Pujols has had the misfortune of playing in the shadow of Bonds during a period in which the latter has pieced together perhaps the best three-year stretch in baseball history. If not for Bonds, Pujols would have won the MVP Award in each of the past two seasons.It's not that often you get to see a player of that caliber play for your favorite team. I'm grateful I've got the chance.
Pujols is as reliable and dependable as they come. He has played at least 157 games in each of his first three seasons and has yet to miss a game this year. Tony LaRussa, who called Pujols "the best player I've ever had" two years ago, has written Pujols' name in the lineup at first base and in the number three slot in the order every game so far in 2004.
Pujols is the type of player who shows up for work with his lunch box every day from April to September, including weekends and holidays. He goes out there daily and does what he is paid to do as quietly, consistently, and efficiently as anyone in the game. Albert reminds me of Tim Duncan and Jerry Rice in his workmanlike preparation and attitude. Fittingly, he performs off Broadway in the heartland of America.
His seasonal averages (per 162 games) are as follows:G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB BA OBP SLG OPS
162 604 127 200 47 2 40 128 78 75 3 .330 .411 .613 1.024
If Pujols can maintain his current level of performance for the next 8-10 years, he will go down in baseball history alongside Aaron, DiMaggio, Foxx, Hornsby, Mays, Robinson, and Honus Wagner as one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time. His numbers have been that princely.
Len on 06.04.04 @ 09:37 AM CST