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Jon Heyman challenges Albert Pujols’s age

Dec 4, 2011, 6:59 PM EDT

pujols reuters Reuters

It’s not quite Rick Reilly challenging Sammy Sosa to pee in a cup, but SI.com’s Jon Heyman today tried to reopen the debate on Albert Pujols’ age:

If albert pujols wants to beat $200M 9-yr cardinals offer, he should produce birth certificate. skepticism abounds over 31 claim

Pujols, who was born in the Domincan Republic but who went to high school in Missouri, has been dogged by age rumors since before he was drafted and in particular since he proved to be a man among boys upon debuting with the Cardinals in 2001. Many believe that he’s two or three years older than his listed age.

Still, we’re guessing Heyman wouldn’t have gone here if Pujols were a Scott Boras client.

  1. 2r2d - Dec 4, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Ha ha, good one

  2. JBerardi - Dec 4, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    I think it’s about time people questioning his age produce a birth certificate, or or that matter ANY hard evidence, or STFU already.

    • lovesmesomeme - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:33 PM

      Albert is that you

  3. Ben - Dec 4, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Why on earth would John Heyman think that he wasn’t required to produce a birth certificate at any point, up ’til now? It just doesn’t make sense.

    Some opportunities for him to have presented a birth certificate:
    -Moving to the US
    -Attending high school in the US
    -Getting drafted by an MLB organization
    -Signing an enormous free-agent contract with an MLB organization
    -Shopping himself around for another free-agent contract.
    -When he got married (No clue there, do they ask for your birth certificate?)

    List goes on and on.
    Sure, he could be older, but what proof do we have other than suspicions?

    • cleverbob - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:42 AM

      No birth certificate required to get married. Well, maybe in Arizona or other bass-ackwards states…

      • Kanonen80 - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:41 AM

        I thought I remember having to produce my birth certificate (in New York) in order to obtain the marriage license. To, you know, prove I wasn’t marrying my sister or something. Maybe it was just Social Security cards… so much paper work to keep straight.

  4. okwhitefalcon - Dec 4, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    I see Heyman has moved on from pleasuring Bobby Valentine back to to being Boras’ personal concubine.

    The depths of his ongoing douchebaggery are unmatched.

  5. cur68 - Dec 4, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    He was in his mid teens when he moved to the US (New York), wasn’t it? His parents would have had to have known he was going to be a pro ballplayer very early on & acquired documentation that falsified his age then.

    Lets do some simple math: since it takes between 2 years to 6 years from decision to emigrate to setting foot on Canadian soil, I’m going to average it to 4 years, assuming the American immigration policy is as stringent as the Canadian one was in 1996 (when Albert Came to the Big Smoke). I’m going to guess that his parents would have had to change his age when he was about 14 (possibly even earlier than that) back to age 12 or 11 in order to get him emigrating with documentation that could pass muster and continue to pass muster (because that documentation gets scrutinized multiple time: I know this first hand by the way).

    So they would have known, somehow, that he was going to be in the MLB from when he was about 14 or so (if not that reason for changing his age, what other could exist?). Either that, or they really, really liked doing risky stupid sh!t on the off chance that their boy might or might not become a pro athlete. Risky stupid sh!t that would have derailed their entire family’s immigration…any of this sound plausible?

    • paperlions - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:08 PM

      Exactly. It has been pointed out before….when he came to the US he was NOT a prospect, when he graduated HS, he STILL wasn’t a prospect. Unless you think everyone in the DR has birth certificates that make them younger than they are….there is no reason to believe he isn’t 31.

      Again, he is Albert Freaking Pujols….dozens to hundreds of papers and teams have tried to find evidence that he isn’t 31….not to mention independent reporters would get a nice pay day for finding such information….if it was out there, teams would already know about it, and likely would have already leaked such information to the media to help drive down the price of signing the guy.

      John Heyman seems to be a bit of an idiot.

      • cur68 - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:41 PM

        My only issue is with your use of the word “seems” in the lase sentence…

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:42 PM

      Lets do some simple math: since it takes between 2 years to 6 years from decision to emigrate to setting foot on Canadian soil

      I did it in 18 months. So it’s possible to do it quicker…

      In any case Jon Heyman saying Pujols should produce a Birth Certificate sounds a lot like Donald Trump asking Obama to produce a Birth Certificate.

      • cur68 - Dec 4, 2011 at 9:01 PM

        Yup, it is possible to do it quicker. Took my parents almost 2.5 years though. Varies depending on job skills, grasp of English, sponsorship and home living conditions. Either way, you still have a puzzling decision to alter young Albert’s age: say they only changed his age by 2 years, from 16 to 14 knowing they’d get to immigrate when he’s 16. WHY? He wasn’t a prospect. Wasn’t even a prospect through highschool. There’s literally no reason to have altered his age. Heyman’s out of his mind.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:05 PM

      While I’m certainly not a Pujols birther, it is worth noting that people lie about their ages for reasons other than defrauding MLB franchises. Danny Almonte, anyone?

  6. benedick47 - Dec 4, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Maybe Orly Taitz could challenge Pujols. Come to think of it, she was probably at the Beck rally last year when Pujols spoke.

  7. rooney24 - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    I am not saying his age in incorrect. But, how can some of you not even believe it is possible? The Marlins’ Leo Nunez wasn’t even actually named Leo Nunez (and also not the correct age). Many know that they only way off the islands and to the U.S. is baseball. Many will do anything that will make them look better.

    Again, I am not saying there is anything wrong about Pujols’ age. But, it is possible.

    • paperlions - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:24 PM

      The situations were a little different. “Nunez” was a prospect signed out of the Dominican. Pujols was a kid that immigrated to NY with his Family when he was a kid and not a baseball prospect. Yeah, they could have take the time and effort to change the age of their non-prospect son years before moving to NY and claiming he was 16….but that would be some damned good foresight, and a rather strange thing to do for a regular “citizen”, as he wasn’t associated with any team’s training facility in the DR, any buscone, or…well…anything else that typically helps forge documents.

      …but sure, it is possible……but it would be shocking if during the last 11 years no one could find any evidence of it….you think the Cardinals haven’t had guys do thorough investigations before signing him to his extension 7 yrs ago?

      • spol85 - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:24 PM

        Does the name Danny Almonte ring a bell?

        Falsifying documents to gain immigration status is a very common practice. Who is to say that Pujols’ family did not do it to gain entrance into the US.

        Maybe Alberts parents thought he may have a chance for a college scholarship. So they got him papers stating that he was a year or so younger than he actually was. That would give him a distinct advantage over the kids he was competing against in Jr. high and high school.

        What if for example, Pujols’ dad was a convicted felon in the DR. He cannot legally enter the US so he gets papers, IDs etc. for the entire family.

        People get deported all the time for entering the country illegally. There are others whose age has been called into question, Vlad Gurrero for one, I dont see why Albert should be any different.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:37 PM

        While I’m not accusing Pujols of being older the Cardinals wouldn’t necessarily do a deep check when they singed him 7 years ago. Even if he was 2 or 3 years older when they made that deal they still would be signing a young very good player and the contract would have only taken him through his age 33 season which would only be a year past what most people consider MLB’s prime. So I could see them doing the exact opposite actually and not really doing a great deal of digging. Now would be a more appropriate time to do their digging if they have any suspicions. which I don’t know if they do or don’t.

  8. dlevalley - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    dlevalley challenges Jon Heyman’s ability to capitalize; write complete sentences.

  9. genericcommenter - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    This seems like a silly distraction from the real issue, and that is:

    Why would he even get 9 years, let alone MORE than 9 years, when his real age IS 31? Since when is anyone in baseball expected to play at a high level until age 40? That is very rare, especially outside of the “performance enhancing” era. Yeah, A-Rod is signed through age 42, but he’s already gone through injuries and is no longer an elite player.

    Pujols has been great for 11 seasons. The odds of him being great for 20 full seasons are pretty low, whether he is 31 or 33 or 27.

    Among all-time greats there is not a single player that went 20 years and through age 40 as an above average player without missing significant time. Even Barry Bonds missed his age 40 season, and I was going to leave him out anyway. Hank Aaron was pretty good through 40 but he missed a full season’s worth of games from his 37-40 seasons. Almost all of the greatest players had significant injuries and diminished skills by 37 or 38.

    Pujols might end up being the greatest of all-time, but is he in a class completely by himself?

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:46 PM

      Only one way to find out!!!! (Grab the quill and the paper and sign on the dotted line…)

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 5, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      Ummm…in a word. Yes. He is in a class by himself (literally). Right now…at this point in his career he is putting up numbers NEVER seen.

      • genericcommenter - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:00 PM

        Jimmie Foxx was pretty similar through age 31. In fact he was probably better his age 30 and 31 seasons. Did you see what he did when he was 40? Or even at 34?

        Foxx and Pujols have almost identical career slash lines, including Jimmie’s decline. Through age 31 Foxx had 463 HR, 2217 hits, 1485 runs, 1625 RBI, and 2 seasons of OPS+ higher than Pujol’s career high, with: 205, 200, 188, 186, 182, 182.

        Foxx had 7853 PAs to Pujols’ 7433. So a difference of + 18 HR, 194 runs, 144 hits, 296 RBI in 420 more PAs. Pujols had a slight edge in doubles.

        At 30:
        Foxx .349/.462/.704/1.166 50/175
        Pujols .312/.414/.596/1.011 42/118

        31:
        Foxx .360/.464/.694/1.158 35/105
        Pujols .299/.366/.541/ .906 37/99

        So I think these numbers ( and even numbers slightly better) HAVE been seen at this point from a 31 year old with around the same number of plate appearances.

        But as i said before, for Pujols to do that through age 40 would be something no one else has done.

      • cleverbob - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.

  10. wluv777 - Dec 4, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    I know for a fact he is older than 31. Hes my dad. And im 42 years old.

  11. celebritycarpetcleaning - Dec 4, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Actually who cares how old he is…as long as he can swing a bat he will continue to hit home runs….that’s what everyone wants to see anyways….he could be 50, for all I care as long as he hits them over the fence I don’t care…he is 31, and I know for a fact, I even played him in home run Derby on a Wii and he hit all 10 balls out of the park….so WHO CARES!!!!!

    • paperlions - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:10 PM

      Well, people offering him $200M contracts might care…because baseball ability is not age independent.

    • mashoaf - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:15 AM

      Glad your Wii is a great source of baseball stats and future player production forcasting.

    • mashoaf - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:15 AM

      Glad your Wii is a great source of baseball stats and future player production forecasting.

  12. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 4, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    It is time to call out Heyman for what he is, a pure and simple racist. The sleazy undercurrent of his rant that Pujols is lying about his age is just a racist stereotype. Latin ballplayers lying and cheat and so, Pujols is trying to cheap MLB teams out of money by saying he is younger than he is. All this will out any proof. Please. Like some business would enter into a $200 million contract without doing their homework is laughable on its face (if not maybe that team could give me a couple of million).

    In the 1950s his type of sportswriters were saying black ballplayers weren’t “smart” or “fundamentally sound” or some such other nonsense to explain their lower salaries. Heyman, baseball has not use for your racist nonsense. Shame on you Matt for not calling him out on it.

  13. celebritycarpetcleaning - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    Keep in mind he already received 111 million dollar contract and now all of a sudden his age is a problem…if other teams have to question his age, well then they need to keep their money and look elsewhere. Like the above post said if in fact he was lying about his age it would have been caught by now he is a MLB player not a kid trying to play Little League. And Name 1 other ball player thats active today that is in the same catergory as Babe Ruth…200 million is a insult. Give him his 300 million, because I bet when you guys are at a ball game or watching at home, you stop doing what yourre doing to watch his bat. 10 year 300million……or 10 year 252 million with a clause that states when he wins the triple crown and he will, then another 50 million is owed to him.

  14. mashoaf - Dec 5, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Maybe Leo Nunez knows a guy that can answer these tricky birth certificate and age verification conundrums.

  15. spudchukar - Dec 5, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Lets see, Heyman is Boras’ lapdog. Fielder is Boras’ client. Pujols is the only current player to overshadow him. Scott to Jon, “Question his age, I need a little help here”.

  16. bbk1000 - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:53 AM

    I wonder if Albert fondly remembers his days in elementary school, when his biggest worries were having to shave each morning and pop acne…

  17. frankvzappa - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    Pujols will produce a birth certificate that says he is who he says he is on the same day that the Usurper does.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      The Usurper- is he a character in one of the video games you while away the daylight hours playing?

  18. thefalcon123 - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    John Heyman is such a fucking douchebag…

  19. purnellmeagrejr - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Okay- to sum up – Jon Heyman is 1.) a Boras tool, 2.) illiterate 3.)a racist 4.) an idiot –

    Geez – to me he’s just a guy that makes a living writing about baseball – sometimes he writes stuff that makes sense – sometimes her writes stuff that seems like he’s in a hurry and hasn’t thought through what he writes. Sometimes he even writes sheer foolishness. Regardless, I read his column and say he’s right about in the middle of the pack as far as Sportswriters are concerned; of course you could say as one poster did about Left Fielders – that’s not meaningful because all left fielders are bad.

  20. stlouis1baseball - Dec 5, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    Again with the freaking age thing? Yeah…as a few other people have stated…A.P.’s parents decided just prior to moving to the US they were going to forge documents for their Son (at age 13) who was not even a Baseball prospect in the slightest. Then…they were going to continue this ruse during his time as a Middle Schooler living with his Grandmother and have him graduate High School in Kansas City (while still living with his Grandmother and STILL not a Baseball prospect). All with hopes of him suddenly becoming a prospect and getting drafted. All of which gravely jeopardizes their hopes of attaning US Citizenship. Doesn’t the timing of all this “Age Drama” seem a little suspicious? Very similar to rival teams driving up the price of Free Agents so their competitiors have to pay threw the nose. This doesn’t seem a little odd? Has anyone even considered this could be a case of a team or teams creating drama (in this case)…to minimize the contract demands and/or amounts of monies teams will ultimately pay to hold the costs down? Essentially just the opposite of teams driving the prices up.

  21. hijackthemic - Mar 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I’m from the future, and I’ve got to say, I love it when people invent a false conspiracy theory so that they can blow it apart. Nobody currently has any firm evidence that he lied about his age, but from age 16 to age 32 he’s looked around three years older than he claims to be. And while I’m sure some dude on the internet knows everything there is to know about immigrating to America from the Dominican Republic, it’s possible he lied about his age to get an education, have a chance at baseball scholarships, or because he was a young baseball player, and knew he could get way more attention as a 16 year old blowing up Missouri H.S. pitching than a 19 year old not blowing up any pitching. The motives, the fake documentation, the ability to pull something off like this, it’s all absolutely going every day. But maybe he hasn’t lied about his age, and it really unfairly boils down to the visceral feeling people get when they look at him and he looks at least 35.

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