Albert Pujols Rejects St. Louis Cardinals: Will He Be The Greatest Hitter Ever?

Brett Appley@@BrettAppleyCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2011

Albert Pujols Rejects St. Louis Cardinals: Will He Be The Greatest Hitter Ever?

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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?

Offensive Phenomenon

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    ST. LOUIS - AUGUST 1: Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on August 1, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Pirates 9-1.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Image
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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.

All-Star Status

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    ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 13:  National League All-Star Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on before the 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 13, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    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.

Postseason Monster

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 10: An interior view of Busch Stadium and the St. Louis Gateway Arch during Game Three of the NLDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 10, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Ph
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 3:  A fan waves a rubber chicken as Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants is given his second intentional walk of the game with the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 3, 2004 at SBC Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19: Albert Pujols #5 and manager Tony LaRussa #10 of the St. Louis Cardinals embrace after defeating the New York Mets 3 to 1 in game seven of the NLCS at Shea Stadium on October 19, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borou
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    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.

Award Ceremony

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 22:  Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals wins the National League Hank Aaron Award prior to game four of the Major League Baseball World Series between the New York Yankee and the Florida Marlins on October 22, 2003 at Pro Player Stad
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    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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    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 3:  General Manager Walt Jocketty presents Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals with his 2006 World Series Championship ring before playing the New York Mets at Busch Stadium April 3, 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Di
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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.

HOF, Perhaps?

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    COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 25:  The 2010 inductee Whitey Herzog gives his speech at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 25, 20010 in Cooperstown, New York. Herzog served as manager for four teams and finished his ca
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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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    HOUSTON - AUGUST 30:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits the ball off the end of the bat during a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 30, 2010 in Houston, Texas. The Astros beat the Cardinals 3-0.  (Photo b
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    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.


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