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Albert Pujols: 30 homers for ten straight years

Aug 16, 2010, 8:50 AM EDT

In my mind, the nutsiest thing about Albert Pujols is that he really wasn’t supposed to make the Cardinals in 2001. He had a nice overall season in the minors in 2000 — his only season in the minors — but 440 of his 544 plate appearances were in A-ball. Bobby Bonilla was supposed to the the Cards’ starting third baseman, not Pujols. But for an injury to Bonilla I’m assuming Albert would have started the year Memphis. I haven’t gone back to look this morning, but my memory of that spring is of people wondering if the kid could hack it and some cautious predictions about how he might be a three-true-outcomes kind of power player until he figured out the league a bit better.

But here we are, ten seasons in. Ten seasons in which El Hombre — and I don’t care if doesn’t like it, it’s an awesome nickname — has hit 30+ homers each season. In which he’s hit .300+ each season. In which he’s knocked in 100+ each season. In which we can take no issue with anyone citing his triple crown numbers because his OBP and other peripherals are so stunning that we can be excused for dwelling on the classic stats.

With nearly ten full years under his belt we’ve just about reached the “if Pujols gets hit by a bus tomorrow he’s in the Hall of Fame” point, though given how amazing the guy is I assume Cooperstown would have made an exception for him before now.  Short of that, even a Dale Murphy-style decline isn’t going to prevent him from making the Hall one day.  A normal decline starting now has him cruise in smoother than cream cheese, safely near the top percentile of all time greats. A couple more years of his current level and he’s in the extreme inner circle. If he isn’t already.

Sorry for the rather pointless gushing here, but sometimes you just have to stop and realize what you’re witnessing.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Aug 16, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    If Pujols got hit by a bus tomorrow, the bus might be able to enter the Transportation HOF immediately.

  2. SouthofHeaven - Aug 16, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    If he got hit by a bus, I’d worry about the bus.

  3. SouthofHeaven - Aug 16, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Pujols should walk to the plate to the Terminator theme music. The guy’s barely human.

  4. Levi Stahl - Aug 16, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    Yesterday I was having similar thoughts: I had the Cardinals game on in the background on mute as I was practicing the piano, and I was more or less totally ignoring it because it was awful–but then Pujols would come up, and I’d turn away from the piano and watch. After ten years, I still am awed at how consistently good he is on nearly every swing. What a pleasure he is to watch.

  5. Glenn - Aug 16, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    He is one special hitter. It’s like watching Bonds in his prime.

  6. Don - Aug 16, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    And Arod has done it for 12 straight years with at least 100 RBIs and before you reply if you think Pujols wasn’t using the same shit Arod was then you are a bigger fool than you even act.

  7. Roger Moore - Aug 16, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    Arod may have done it for 12 straight years, but they weren’t his first 12 years in the league, or even his first 12 full seasons. Part of what’s amazing about Pujols is that he started hitting .300/30/100 every season right out of the gate.

  8. bmoline - Aug 16, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    In defense of A-Rod, he came to the majors when he was 20 years old. Pujols was a few years older, which helps.
    Anyway, I actually saw Albert play single A ball in 2000 when he was with Peoria. I believe he went 2-4 with a double and a homer that night. I didn’t have any idea who he was or who any of the Cards’ legit prospects were on the team, but when my wife asked me which player(s) we saw that night would be playing in the majors someday, he was the one guy that immediately came to mind. The ball just jumped off his bat.

  9. BuckeyeChuck - Aug 16, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    IMO, Albert Pujols is the best player in MLB right now, including A-Rod. His defense and baserunning are eye-popping in addition to his ohmigod bat. I’d take him over A-Rod; I’d take him over Griffey Jr. in his prime; I’d take him over Bonds in his prime.

  10. GN 22 - Aug 16, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    Actually A-Rod doesn’t have much of a defense on this one. If you’d check the facts before you post you’d see that Albert was born Jan 16, 1980 and made his MLB debut on April 2, 2001. That would make him 21 years old. A-Rod (who is batting .267 this year) debuted 19 days prior to his 20th birthday, far from a “few” years.
    For those who watch Albert regularly, this year may seem like a “down” year for him until recently. Even in a year where Albert has said he hasn’t been right he’s still top 5 in the triple crown categories, batting .315. A-Rod can’t compare.

  11. BigBBFan - Aug 16, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    BuckeyeChuck you need a reality check. Pujo has a long way to go to put up either Bonds or Griffeys numbers. I doubt he will equal either one when it is all over for him. Keep in mind all the years Junior was out injured for long periods of time. If he had enjoyed good health this would really be a travesty of a comparison.

  12. Baseball Historian - Aug 16, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Setting aside unsupported and cynical allegations that Pujols is on steroids as is A-Rod, those of us in St. Louis that monitor Albert’s activities daily, have season tickets, go to the games, watch his behavior, listen to the {absence of} rumors, hang on his every quote about how it’s about whether the Cardinals won that day and not how he did — have no doubt we are watching something special. My experience spans 60 years so this is not a casual comment: I think we are watching a guy that might become the greatest baseball player of all time (if he stays healthy, stays off drugs, and plays a while longer). Yes that’s a pretty aggressive comment and probably pretty offensive to other fans. BUT, take the time to switch over to a Cardinal game when you can find it and just watch this guy. Same swing every time; Same all out effort defensively. Same concentration; same polite demeanor; no hot-dogging; same “I can’t believe he just did that” performance.

  13. JBerardi - Aug 16, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Pujols is a better player than Griffey. First ten seasons:

    Pujols: .332/.426/.624, 171 OPS+
    Griffey: .300/.379/.568, 150 OPS+

    Griffey accumulated 78.4 WAR in his entire career, Pujols is already at 81.3.

    Griffey was one of the best of his generation. Pujols is one of the best any generation.

  14. BuckeyeChuck - Aug 18, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    @BigBBFan — Please reread what I wrote more carefully. I offered no opinion about where Pujols will rank at the end of his career relative to the Griffey Jr., Bonds, or A-Rod. What I said was that when comparing each in their prime, my selection would be Pujols.
    It is pointless to speculate about how Albert’s career will compare, since his career isn’t over.

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