This past weekend Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals crushed a home run into center field of Busch Stadium. While the Cardinals ended up losing the game to the Chicago Cubs, the home run was significant in other ways.
Pujols’ home run on Sunday gives him 30 for the season, making him the first player in history to hit 30 home runs in each of his first ten seasons, an incredible feat to say the least.
Pujols’ accomplishment has never been done before, but that has been the case with this very same statistic for years. The only player to come close would have been Mark McGwire, ironically Pujols’ batting coach in St. Louis. McGwire ran off four straight seasons (not counting a short call up in 1986 which didn’t even qualify him as a rookie) at the start of his career from 1987 to 1990.
Like Barry Bonds, Pujols finds himself batting comfortably in the number three spot in the batting order. With fellow Cardinals slugger With Matt Holliday agreeing to a seven-year deal to keep him with the Cardinals, Pujols is likely going to see his numbers continue to improve. Opposing pitchers will have no choice but to pitch to Pujols in the number three spot, especially with Holliday’s power batting right behind him in the cleanup spot.
Another cleanup spot hitter that has been stealing the spotlight with home runs this season is Alex Rodriguez, who earlier this season became the youngest player to reach the 600 home run mark.
However, Pujols seems to be quietly overshadowing the Yankees’ slugger. Pujols’ reserved demeanor combined with the smaller market of St. Louis doesn’t get the same attention that the glamor and glitz of A-Rod in New York receives. Pujols’s tenth consecutive season with 30 home runs is no fluke. In fact, it is backed up with over 100 Runs Batted In and a batting average well over .300 in each and every season.
At 30 years old, Pujols is already one of the best hitters the game of baseball has ever seen. If he were to play 20 years, and his current totals of 1854 Hits, 396 Home Runs, and 1198 Runs Batted In doubled, Pujols could be pushing the record books skyward in all three categories.
For most players, slumps seem to come and go, but for Pujols his performance seems to be as consistent as his demeanor. That consistency hasn’t been marred by controversy and accusations like many other players in the league over the last 20 years. It seems the spotlight might not be as important to him as leaving his mark on the game, a quality that Major League Baseball needs most in its era of controversy, which makes Albert’s future destiny in Cooperstown almost guaranteed.
image via yahoo