01/16/2006: Speaking of baseball birthdays today....
Happy birthday to almost-certain Hall of Famer, Cardinals first baseman Albert "the Great" Pujols, who turns 26 today.
As a premptive strike, the Birdwatch post addresses the concerns of those of you who find credibility in the "Pujols lied about his age" conspiracy theory:
There's always been talk that Pujols is older than he claims. The original basis for those claims is that Albert was really, really good in 2001. The problem though is that Pujols wasn't that good in 2000. Sure, a 930 OPS at A-ball is promising, but not if you're already 25. As Clay Davenport pointed out in 2004:Not only that, but the year before Pujols signed his BIG contract with the Cardinals, MLB implemented a policy calling for a year's suspension for players caught falsifying their ages. I have no doubt myself that before the Cards decided to shell out the megabux for Pujols they satisfied themselves as to the bona fides about his birthday.The more time a player has until he reaches 27, the more he is likely to improve. Moreover, the improvement is not linear; the average amount of improvement goes down as you get closer to age 27. A successful 20-year-old, on average, improves by more in one year than a successful 21-year-old does, and so on.
Len on 01.16.06 @ 05:30 PM CST