Albert Pujols in Major League Baseball
Albert Pujols enjoyed baseball from a young age, when his family immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic.Pujols excelled at baseball in high school, in college, and simply seemed destined for major league greatness. Finally, in 1999 Albert Pujols was drafted in the 13 th round by the St. Louis Cardinals and was overjoyed by the opportunity to play with the Cardinals. Of course, Pujols wasn’t put on the roster right away; instead he went through some developmental training with some farm teams. However, by 2001 he was on the roster for opening day in a game against the Rockies in Denver. That first game was just the beginning of what has proven to be a great five year career, a career that is by no means over.
Pujols 2001 Rookie Year
Pujols was put on the Cardinals roster, even though it had previously been full. When Bobby Bonilla suffered an injury and St. Louis was forced to put him on the bench, Pujols seemed like the perfect man to fill the hole in the roster. Suddenly Albert found himself in the big leagues and on a roster with famous players such as Mark McGwire, Fernando Vina, Edgar Renteria, Ray Lankford, Jim Edmonds, and J.D. Drew.
Albert Pujols didn’t waste any time getting noticed in the major leagues, in fact in the season’s second series against the Diamondbacks, he hit one home run, three doubles, and scored eight RBIs. This performance definitely spoke to members of his own team as well as major league players on every team that this man was worth his spot on the Cardinals roster. Though he was new to Major League Baseball, his consistency earned Albert Pujols the National League Rookie of the Month by May of 2001, just a month after his first appearance with the Cardinals. A month later he was named as a player on the Major League Baseball All-Star Game by the National League manager. His being named to the All Star Game was the first time that a rookie has been named to the team in more than 50 years!
Being who he is, Pujols did not settle into the Major League and step back his game, instead he kept it consistent. In his rookie season Pujols helped the Cardinals tie for the highly esteemed National League Central Division title. Pujols also kept up his great batting averages which were helped by a massive 37 homeruns and 130 RBIs. It’s safe to say that by the end of his rookie year Albert Pujols had secured his place on the St. Louis Roster. To his delight, Albert was named the National League Rookie of the Year, and it was a unanimous vote.
The 2002 baseball season proved to be a bit more challenging for Pujols as he struggled to hit, but he still did tremendously well with 34 homeruns and 127 runs batted in. The year was a tough one for the Cardinals as their pitcher died suddenly, but Pujols remained consistent, despite his struggles and the internal struggles St. Louis was experiencing. The Cardinals would finish first in the National League in 2002. The team beat Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs, but unfortunately they lost to the Giants in the championship series.
In his junior year in the Major League’s Pujols did not lay off the bat as he had his best season so far! Albert was settling into the Cardinals roster nicely when he hit a respectable 43 homeruns, had 124 runs batted in, and won the National League batting title. Albert Pujols came in second this year to Barry Bonds in the MVP voting.
Despite some hamstring problems, Pujols had another good season in 2004 with 46 homeruns and 123 runs batted in. Albert Pujols was also chosen to be on the cover of the MVP Baseball 2004 video game. As if that wasn’t enough exposure, Albert Pujols was named the 2004 MVP of the National League Championship Series.
Pujols had a great year in 2005 as well as he beat his own records for walks and stolen bases. Pujols finishes the 2005 baseball season with a .330 batting average, a .430 on base average, and a .609 slugging percentage. Alert Pujols hit 41 homeruns, 117 runs batted in, 97 walks, and 16 stolen bases. Albert was still struggling with leg injuries and the entire St. Louis roster seemed to be suffering from one injury or another, yet somehow Pujols remained very consistent.
The year 2006 has been a successful one for Albert Pujols as well. Albert Pujols has been recognized as the fastest player to hit 200 homeruns and 1,000 career hits. Pujols also set the league record for the number of homeruns by April, which was 14 homeruns and is on his way to hitting 83 homeruns for the season. In May Pujols entered the record books again when he became the fastest player in history to hit 19 homeruns.
In his five years playing Major League Baseball, Albert Pujols has proved to be very consistent and far above average in both offensive and defensive games. Pujols is a respected part of his team as well as a respected member of Major League Baseball. It will be interesting to watch as Albert Pujols continues into the future as a record breaker.