Albert Pujols Rejects St. Louis Cardinals: Will He Be The Greatest Hitter Ever?
Two weeks ago, Albert Pujols rejected a contract offer from the St. Louis Cardinals. He is in the last season of his contract and has gone on record saying that he will not negotiate the contract once he reports for spring training.
That means the last chance for Pujols and the Cardinals to come to terms on a new contract is at noon ET Wednesday.
Pujols is widely considered as the best player in major league baseball, and his stats back that up.
At the rate he is going, can Pujols be the greatest hitter of all time?
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Albert Pujols is the only player in MLB history to hit 30 or more home runs in his first 10 seasons.
As a rookie, Pujols hit 37 home runs and batted in 130 runs on his way to a Rookie of the Year award. Since then, he has hit between 32 and 49 home runs each year.
It should only be a couple more seasons until Pujols reaches the 500 home run mark and further solidifies his HOF standing.
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Being chosen as an All-Star is no ordinary thing. Pujols has been selected to play in the All-Star Game every year since his rookie season, excluding 2002.
Pujols is a nine-time All-Star, is loved by the fans, and put on a great show for them when the All-Star Game was held in St. Louis.
Pujols will most likely be nominated to play in the All-star Game every year for the considerable future until his numbers start to slow down.
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Since 2001, Pujols has played in 56 postseason games. One main argument with some other great hitters is how poorly they perform in the postseason, but not Pujols.
In those games, he is hitting .322 with 13 home runs and 36 RBIs, which isn't too shabby.
Do The Chicken Dance
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Once upon a time, there was a great hitter named Barry Bonds. Every time he came up to the plate, pitchers seemed to stay far away from him.
This translated into fans bringing rubber chickens and placing them on the wall for each time that Bonds was walked intentionally.
While Pujols isn't quite to that level yet, pitchers do tend to stay far away from him. Half the time, it seems like the entire at-bat will either feature every ball on the outside of the plate, or Pujols will crush the first hittable pitch out of the park.
Sharing Is Caring
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Some of the power hitters in game today tend to either hit a home run, or strike out.
A lot of players swing for the long ball every time, which usually puts them high on the list of most home runs, but it also ends up lowering their stats in many other categories.
What makes Albert Pujols so special, is that he not only can hit for power, he can also hit for average and for contact.
Pujols has hit more than 100 rbis in every season he has played with his peak at 137. He also has hit better than .300 in every season and has a career average of .331.
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Along with winning Rookie of the Year Award in 2001, Pujols has also been awarded with the MVP in 2005, 2008, and 2009.
Additionally, Pujols has been awarded with a Silver Slugger award in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
World Series Champion
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Every major league baseball player dreams of winning a World Series, but very few get that chance.
In 2004, Albert Pujols lead the Cardinals to the World Series, but fell short getting swept by the Boston Red Sox.
He was back in 2006 though, defeating Detroit in five games, and bringing the title back to St. Louis.
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Out of the four main Hall of Fame statistic categories, Pujols ranks high in all the following:
Black Ink: Pujols—45, Average HOF—27
Gray Ink: Pujols—215, Average HOF—144
Hall of Fame Monitor: Pujols—262, Likely HOF—100
Hall of Fame Standards: Pujols—53, Average HOF—50
Greatest Hitter Of His Generation?
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Let's start here.
Out of the current active major league baseball players, Pujols should be ranked as the best hitter.
He has the power numbers, the average, the runs batted in, the MVP's, the All-Star games, and the World Series title.
I would have to argue that Pujols is the greatest all around hitter of his generation. There are many other good hitters, but none that have all the tools that, "The Machine," has.
Greatest Hitter Ever?
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Back to the main question at hand, will Albert Pujols be the greatest hitter ever?
My answer: No.
There are just too many great hitters of every decade to be able to say that Pujols will be the best out of all of them.
Sure, he is amazing, he has done everything he possibly can, and I'm not ruling out the fact that he could potentially reach that level some day.
Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, to name a few players, should be considered as well. The problem is that the whole steroid issue comes back into play once people start mentioning names of past generations.
Pujols is the best hitter we will see for a long time, but the greatest hitter ever...not quite.