Stan Musial vs. Albert Pujols' St. Louis Cardinals Career

Harold FriendChief Writer IJune 4, 2012

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 31: Hall of Famer Stan Musial attends the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on July 31, 2005 at the Clark Sports Complex in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Now that Albert Pujols no longer is a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, his career with the Cardinals can be compared to that of Stan Musial.

Pujols played for the Cards from 2001-11. Musial joined the 1941 Cardinals and retired after the 1963 season. Musial was defending freedom in 1945.

The following table compares Pujols with Musial, using traditional measurements:

Pujols        .328    .420    .617
Musial        .331    .417    .559

There is little difference with respect to batting average and on-base percentage. Pujols’ slugging average is much better than Musial’s.

Musial’s statistics include his 22 seasons with the Cardinals, compared to Pujols’ 11 seasons.

Let’s compare the 11 seasons when Musial and Pujols were the same age.

The following table compares Musial to Pujols from the ages of 21-31. Since Musial didn’t play in 1945, we have used 1953, when he was 32. Pujols is not doing too well at the age of 32.

Ages 21-31

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Pujols        .328    .420    .617
Musial        .345    .432    .582

Musial tops Pujols in batting average and in on-base percentage. The difference in slugging average is diminished.

They are tied with respect to OPS+. Pujols has a 170 OPS+, while Musial, for those 11 seasons, has a 171 OPS+.

Pujols won his only batting title in 2003, when he batted .359.

Musial led the league in hitting in 1943 (.357), 1946 (.365), 1948 (.376), 1950 (.346), 1951 (.355) and 1952 (.337).

As Red Barber might have asked Phil Rizzuto, “Do you think Musial was a pretty good hitter?”

Musial hit home runs, but the majority of his extra base hits were doubles and triples. From the ages of 21-31, Musial 46 doubles,14 triples and 25 home runs over a 162-game season.

Pujols averaged 44 doubles, only two triples and 43 home runs over a 162-game season.

Musial finished his career with 3,630 hits. During his Cardinals seasons, Pujols had 2,073 hits. One never knows, but it is unlikely that Pujols will top Musial in career hits.

Pujols had 11 outstanding seasons with the Cardinals. One could argue, possibly with success, that he was better as a Cardinal than Rogers Hornsby, Joe Medwick or Lou Brock, but he wasn’t Stan Musial’s equal.

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