09/27/2004: I reiterate: Albert the Great
How special have first baseman Albert Pujols' first four major-league seasons been? Sunday's fourth-inning single against Rockies starter Chris Gissell scored left fielder Marlon Anderson for the 500th RBI of Pujols' young career. The three-time All-Star became only the third player in major-league history and the first in 62 years to reach the plateau in four seasons.I'll be intereested in seeing the changes in Phat Al's stat card at Baseball Reference when his 2004 stats are taken into account, but I do note that Joltin' Joe DiMag is Pujols's highest batting similarity score through age 23 (Teddy Ballgame comes in 9th on that list), as well as being his highest batting similarity score through each of his three "at age" lists (21, 22, and 23) so far (and Teddy Ballgame appears in the top ten for two of those three ages as well).
The others: Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.
Nice company to be in.
I'm going to say it again (and again, and again, I'm sure), barring a career ending injury early in his career, I have no doubt but that Pujols is going into the Hall of Fame. By the Hall of Fame metrics listed on the Baseball Reference stat card, Pujol's is pretty much more than halfway through a Hall of Fame career at the end of three MLB seasons, and as Brian Gunn has noted in a post at Redbird Nation that I'm too lazy to search for (so sue me; considering the thousands of times that RBN mentions Prince Albert that task is going to take too long), players with Pujols's work ethic don't shorten their careers by becoming headcases.
'twould be nice to see Pujols become the 21st Century version of, say, Musial, and spend his whole career in St. Louis (I know, totally unrealistic in this age of free agency, but one can dream, can't one?).
Len on 09.27.04 @ 07:23 AM CST