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Lifetime Batting Average: .329
Lifetime On-Base Percentage: .422
Before it is all said and done, Pujols may be remembered as one of the greatest hitters of all time—if not the greatest.
Not much has to be said to defend the No. 1 spot for Pujols. He is regarded by the majority of the baseball community as the hands-down best hitter in the game today and was named the greatest player of the decade by ESPN.com. However, if one wants to see the evidence, here it is.
Pujols has hit over .312, 32 homers and 103 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons in the major leagues. At the end of the 2010 season, Pujols led all active players in average (.331), slugging (.624) and on-base percentage (.426). His career strikeout-to-walk ratio is a staggering 671:946. Sure there may be a lot of intentional walks in there, but that only speaks more to his reputation as a hitter.
By the end of the 2009 season, Pujols already ranked in the top 15 in major league history in four different categories: on-base percentage (12th), slugging (fourth), on-base plus slugging (fourth), and adjusted slugging (T-sixth). Adjusted slugging takes in consideration the ballpark and the league the player had played in.
From 2001 to 2005, Pujols hit 201 home runs. That ranks him second all-time for the most hit in a player's first five seasons. By 2009, he had reached the 350-homer plateau at the age of 29 and became the third-youngest to do so. In turn, he surpassed Ralph Kiner's record for most home runs in a player's first nine seasons. In the process, Pujols became the first player to hit 30 or more home runs in the first nine seasons of his career (he has since extended it to 10), as well the second player to have 100 or more RBIs in the same timespan.
In his first 5,000 career at bats, Pujols hit 372 doubles, 358 home runs and 14 triples for a total of 744 extra-base hits. That is the most in NL history. He also is the second player in history to post nine consecutive seasons with 30 doubles, a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100-plus RBIs. The other person? Lou Gehrig.
In about 20 years, people will start being compared to Pujols. Unfortunately, we will have to be the ones to let them down since no one may ever be as quite as good as "The Machine."