St Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols: Greatest of All-Time?

DENVER - MAY 06:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals prepares to bat against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 6, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Cardinals defeated the Rockies 6-5.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Matt AdlerContributor IMay 5, 2009

Albert Pujols is, undeniably, the best player in the major leagues.

He plays in a great baseball market (St. Louis), but not in one of the leagues largest. He plays on a team that is always competitive (no less than 78 wins in any of his eight years), but is sometimes forgotten in the New York-Boston-Chicago hoopla.

However, he is gaining recognition now as the best player in baseball. Over his eight years, he has averaged 191 hits, 40 HR, 43 2Bs, 122 RBI, 118 runs, with a .335 BA on a team averaging 91 wins per year. He has won a gold glove, two silver sluggers, a rookie of the year, a world series and two MVP awards.

Pujols has finished worse than fourth in the MVP voting only once (ninth in 2007), and if you remove steroid-aided seasons of Barry Bonds, and Adrian Beltre (2004), he should have won five MVPs, including four in-a-row. Remember this is in eight MLB seasons.

If he continues at his current pace, he would end up as the greatest player in the history of baseball. What, you don’t believe me? Lets take a look at the numbers:

(Assuming a 19 year career, which would have him retire at 40 years old, continuing at his current pace)

Hits-3629-fourth all time

HR-760-second (to Bonds)

RBI-2318-first

Doubles-817-first

Runs- 2242-third

BA-.335-16th

OBP-.426-sixth

SLG-.625-fourth

OPS-1.051-fourth

This is assuming he plays only until he is 40 years old (Ted Williams played until 42,  Hank Aaron until 42, Pete Rose until 45), and maintains his current pace. Remember, he is only 29 years old, so he should be just entering his prime.

That means that his numbers should get better, which is very scary for the rest of baseball. Of course, I am assuming that he will stay healthy, avoid a skills decline, and, of course, that he is not using, nor has ever used PEDs. I can never be sure with today’s baseball landscape, but I believe Pujols to be clean.

Would these numbers make Pujols the greatest of all time? I do not know, but it would have to put him in the conversation with Mays, Aaron, Ruth, and Ted Williams.

Also, if clean, he played the right way and dominated an era when so many players took PEDs and, thus, had an unfair advantage over Pujols. He is not loud, he is not difficult, he stays out of the news, but he puts up consistent numbers every year.

Because of this, when he is done playing, he could be recognized as not only the best clean player in the steroid era, and the best first baseman of all time, but also as the greatest of all time. 

 

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