Jose Alberto Pujols Alcántara
(Prince Albert, Phat Albert, The Machine, or El Hombre)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 235 lb.
- School Maple Woods Community College
- High School Fort Osage High School
- Debut April 2, 2001
- Final Game October 4, 2022
- Born January 16, 1980 in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, D.R.
"The man is good at every little thing he does." - Mike Easler
"When that ball flew over our heads, I turned to Mike Mason, our bullpen coach, and said, 'That's why they pay that guy a hundred million bucks.' "— Ray King, watching in the bullpen when Albert Pujols hit a key post-season home run in 2005
Albert Pujols was quite possibly the best player of the 2000-2009 decade. Based on the similarity scores method, the most similar player to Pujols, at ages 21-27, was Joe DiMaggio. At ages 28-30, it was Jimmie Foxx. The second-most similar player to Pujols, in 2010, was Frank Robinson.
Pujols won the National League MVP award in 2005, 2008 and 2009, but that shouldn't obscure the fact that he was also in the top four in the MVP Award voting in each of 2001-2004 and 2006. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2001.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Pujols moved to the United States in the early 1990s. He briefly attended a Missouri community college and in 1999 was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round. The scout was Dave Karaff.
The year 2000 was his only one in the minors. At age 20, he played most of the season for the Peoria Chiefs in the Class A Midwest League, posting a batting line of .324/.389/.565 with 17 home runs. He was the league's MVP. His teammate Ben Johnson hit 13 home runs, but with a much lower batting average. Pujols then spent 21 games with the Potomac Cannons in the Carolina League and 3 games with the Memphis Redbirds in the Pacific Coast League to finish out 2000. He hit a walk-off home run to win the PCL Championship Series for Memphis.
He started his major league career with a bang: when he made his debut on April 2nd, he was presumably the first player born in the 1980s to appear in a major league game. At the time, the record was thought to belong to Rafael Furcal, who had made his debut a year earlier, but it turned out he had fudged his age when signing his first contract and was actually born in the 1970s. Of course, similar speculation has dodged Pujols as well, as he was very physically mature for a player his age when he started out, and because some have argued that his career arc and aging pattern in later seasons was also consistent with that of an older man, born in 1977 or 1978. Pujols went through the "age reconciliation" that followed the events of September 11, 2001, during which hundreds of players from Latin America had to prove their birth dates to renew their visas and as a result became a few years older overnight (that was what happened to Furcal). Pujols was never affected because he moved to America as a teenager and never had to renew his visa papers to be re-admitted, and thus was not subjected to such close scrutiny.
His age again became a subject of media discussion in March 2021 when articles appeared questioning his age, this time in relation to his recent decline and not to any perceived precocity. Former Miami Marlins president David Samson was quoted as saying that nobody in baseball believes Pujols is his stated age, and that it was a factor for many teams when he was a free agent after the 2011 season, as they were wary of giving him the long-term contract he was seeking because they were certain he was older than he claimed to be.  However, Samson didn't give a different age instead, but the 1977 or 1978 birth year stated above remains the most likely scenario for those who believe this theory.
In any case, in April of 2001, he set a rookie record for most RBIs in the month with 27; the record held until shattered by José Abreu in 2014. He also set the record for most RBIs in a player's first 30 games, with 34; that record lasted even longer, until 2019, when it was bested by Yordan Alvarez. He went on to hit 37 homers and drive in 130 runs in his rookie season to be named the NL Rookie of the Year. He was also named to the 2001 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. His major league seasons from 2001-2009 were uniformly excellent. The lowest batting average he posted was .314, his lowest home run total was 32, and his lowest RBI total was 103. He even stole 16 bases in 18 attempts in 2005.
After his first nine years, Pujols had the fourth highest slugging percentage in the history of the game, behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig, and ahead of Barry Bonds. Of course, those players did it over the course of a career, while Pujols still had many years to play at that point.
If anything negative could be said about his play during that period, it's that his range defensively early in his career could have been better. However, he was a multi-position player, appearing in left field, right field, third base, and first base during those years, and even once apiece at shortstop in 2002 and second base in 2008. He switched largely to first base starting in 2004, and won a Gold Glove at the position in 2006. In 2009, he set a record for assists by a first baseman. He played in the World Series for the first time in 2004, when the Cardinals were swept by the Boston Red Sox; he still went 5- for 15 with a pair of doubles in that series.
2006 was a typical season offensively for Pujols, except his slugging was a bit better than usual. He played on the 2006 World Series-winning Cardinal team, and while he hit only .200, it was a low-hitting series, with the Cardinals as a team hitting .228 and the Detroit Tigers hitting .199. In 2006, Albert Pujols reached 2,000 career total bases in just 854 games, making him the quickest player ever to achieve that mark. The record had been 869 games by Nomar Garciaparra. He lost the 2006 NL MVP race to Ryan Howard, 388 points to 347. The Dominican Republic sports ministry arranged a news conference for Pujols, where he vented that a player from a non-playoff team should not win the MVP. It should be pointed out that Howard's team had won two more games than Pujols' team and only missed the playoffs because they played in a tougher division.
Pujols hit his 300th home run on July 4, 2008. It made him the 5th-youngest player to hit 300 as he was 28 years and 170 days old, one day younger than Mel Ott. Alex Rodriguez, Jimmie Foxx, Ken Griffey Jr. and Andruw Jones had reached 300 at younger ages than Pujols.
In 2009, Pujols broke Bill Buckner's major league record of 184 assists by a first baseman. Mark Grace had held the NL mark. Even though he was not yet 30 years old at the end of 2009, he already ranked # 31 on the all-time list for points as determined by the Hall of Fame Monitor. The scale is such that 130 points "is a virtual cinch" to get into the Hall, while Pujols already had 226 points. That year, Pujols reached 100 RBI, just like his 8 prior seasons; that broke a tie with Ted Williams for the second-longest stretch to open a career. Only Al Simmons (11 years) had a longer run of 100-RBI seasons to begin a career. Pujols would miss tying Simmons' mark by literally 1 RBI: in 2011, he drove in 99 runs after ten straight seasons of 100+; he then had another season over 100 in 2012.
Pujols hit his 400th career home run on August 26, 2010, off Jordan Zimmermann. He became the 47th major leaguer to reach that figure and the third-youngest after Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. In June 2011, Pujols hit game-winning, game-ending, extra-inning homers in consecutive games; no major leaguer had done that since Albert Belle in 1995 and no National Leaguer since Ron Santo in 1966. However, he finished the season with the worst offensive numbers of his career: a .299 batting average (his first time under .300), 37 homers and 99 RBI (his first time below 100). For all that, he was still one of the top offensive forces in the major leagues.
After struggling in the first two games of the 2011 World Series, Pujols set or tied four records in Game 3. He went deep 3 times, drove in 6 runs, had 5 hits and 14 total bases. He tied the home run record held by Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson (Pablo Sandoval would join them in 2012), the RBI record held by Bobby Richardson and Hideki Matsui, and the hit mark held by Paul Molitor. He set a new total bases record, breaking the record of 12 shared by Ruth and Jackson. He may not have done much the rest of the Series, but his one-game performance was of utmost importance in helping the Cardinals win a tightly-fought seven-game series over the Texas Rangers, giving him a second Championship ring.
Shortly after the 2011 World Series, Pujols became a free agent. The Cardinals wanted to retain his services, but they were far from the only serious suitors, and had to drop out of the bidding when they were reluctant to go over $200 million or 9 years. On December 8th, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim announced they had won the sweepstakes, signing Albert to a 10-year contract worth $254 million - the second largest contract of all time after Alex Rodriguez's extension signed following the 2008 season. The signing immediately led to speculation in southern California that the Angels would dump various players or move them to other positions in order to accommodate Pujols' salary and need to play either DH or first base. It was in fact veteran OF Bobby Abreu who paid the price, being released before the end of April, 2012. However, it was not because Albert pushed him out, because his performance over his first few weeks in the American League was so poor as to become the talk of Major League Baseball. By May 5th, he was hitting only .194 and had yet to homer, and he was being booed at home while the Angels were struggling to a 10-17 record. After suffering back-to-back shutouts to the Toronto Blue Jays, manager Mike Scioscia took the rare decision of benching Pujols for that day's game. The message seemed to work as in his next game, on May 6th, Pujols finally hit his first AL homer, connecting off the Jays' Drew Hutchison with a man on in the 5th inning to send the Angels to a 4-3 win. By the end of July, he had raised his average to .284 and had hit 20 homers; not surprisingly, the Angels were back in the thick of the playoff race. On July 31st and August 1st, Albert had back-to-back two homer games against the Angels' main rivals, the Texas Rangers. The first day's output led to a 6-2 win, but in the second, the Rangers managed to storm back from a 10-7 deficit in the 10th inning to prevent Los Angeles from moving within 2 games of the AL West lead, and their momentum cooled off after that. On September 23rd, Albert collected his 100th and 101st RBI in a 4-1 win over the Chicago White Sox, hitting triple digits for the 11th time in 12 seasons in spite of his slow start. He finished the year at .285/.343/.516 with 30 homers and 105 RBI in 154 games, very respectable numbers given his slow start, but the Angels finished well out of the postseason picture. Pujols hit 50 doubles on the season, becoming the fifth player in major league history with at least three seasons of 50 or more doubles, following Tris Speaker, Paul Waner, Stan Musial and Brian Roberts.
After the 2012 season, Pujols underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He was hoping to play for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and was named on the team's initial roster, but had to withdraw on the advice of doctors, although he still hoped to be available for the later stages of the tournament, were the Dominican Republic national team still involved. In the end, though, the D.R. won the tournament without his contribution. He was having his poorest season in 2013 when he went down with a foot injury in late July. His batting average was only .258 after 99 games - his .285 the previous season had been his lowest batting average until then - and he had only hit 17 homers, although his total of 64 RBIs was still respectable. But the problems went deeper: at .330, his OBP was not only the lowest of his career but a full 80 points below his career average, as pitchers were increasingly willing to challenge him given his lack of results; his slugging percentage of .437 was also miles below his career norms. The injury was a torn plantar fascia and had bothered him in some form since the start of the season until he aggravated it running the bases on July 26th. When he was placed on the DL two days later, the Angels were glum about his chances of returning before the end of the season, and wondering whether his long-term contract was not already a huge white elephant. Indeed, on August 19th, the team confirmed that Pujols was done for the year.
When the 2014 season started, however, there was renewed interest in Pujols as he started the season with 492 homers, making his joining the 500 home run club in the early part of the year an almost foregone conclusion. In spite of the evidence of declining production in his first two seasons as a member of the Angels, a number of writers singled him out in their pre-season picks as a potential Comeback Player of the Year or MVP, on the basis that he was bound to drive in a ton of runs if he stayed healthy and hit between Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton all season. On April 22nd, he hit homers #499 and 500 in a game against the Washington Nationals to join the 500 Home Run Club as its 26th member. He was the first to hit #500 as his second homer of the game, and was the first new member of the fraternity since Gary Sheffield had joined in 2009. The day before the game, he had gone 0 for 5 but told reporters that he would hit the two homers required for the milestone the next day. He made good on his promise, connecting off Taylor Jordan in the 1st and again in the 5th to lead the Angels to a 7-2 win. He picked up two other milestones on September 6th, with his 2,500th career hit and 1,500th run, both coming in an 8-5 win over the Minnesota Twins. He also hit his 25th homer of the year in that game. He ended up hitting .272 with 37 doubles, 28 homers and 105 RBIs in 159 games, a marked improvement over the previous season, even if well below his numbers with the Cards (in St. Louis, his average OPS+ was 170, while the season was good for 126). In the Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, he went 2 for 12 with as homer as the Angels were swept in three games.
Pujols was back hitting with full power in 2015, as by the middle of June, he was leading the American League in home runs. He was named the league's Player of the Month for June on the strength of a .303 average with 13 homers and a .737 slugging percentage. He returned to the All-Star Game for the first time in five years, taking over as the AL's starting first baseman in place of the injured Miguel Cabrera. He ended the year with 40 homers and 95 RBIs in 157 games and an OPS+ of 118, brought down by a batting average of only .244 and an OBP of .307, both well below his career norms. He finished 5th in the AL in home runs. However, the Angels missed the postseason and pain in his foot limited him to the role of DH for the final month of the season. He underwent surgery in November, but was ready for the start of the 2016 season. He played 152 games and hit .268 with 31 homers and 119 RBIs. He played mainly DH, then after the season, he underwent foot surgery again.
On June 3, 2017, he became the 9th member of the 600 Home Run Club when he connected for a grand slam off Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins in the 4th inning of a 7-2 win. At 37, he was the fourth youngest player to reach the milestone, following Alex Rodriguez, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth, and the first new member since Jim Thome in 2011. He was also the third player with 600 homers and 600 doubles, after Aaron and Barry Bonds. On August 4th, he became the all-time leader for grounded into double play with 351, passing the career total of Cal Ripken (he finished the season at 362). On August 18th, he hit home run #609 of his career, tying Sammy Sosa for 8th place on the all-time list, and also for most by a player born outside the United States. He passed him with his next homer on August 22nd. By registering his 100th RBI on September 26th, he joined Alex Rodriguez as the only two players to have 14 100-RBI seasons. He finished the year at .241 in 149 games, the lowest average of his career, but still hit 23 homers and drove in 101 runs. Another sign that he was reaching the end of the line was that his K/W ratio had deteriorated significantly, as he had walked just 37 times, while striking out 93 times, matching his career high set as a rookie.
In 2018, another factor of uncertainty came into play when the Angels signed Japanese two-way player Shohei Ohtani with the intention of using him as the designated hitter on certain days when he would not be the pitcher. Given that by now Pujols was practically a full-time DH (he had played just 6 games at first base the previous season), this was going to impact his usage. There was an opportunity to play first given that C.J. Cron, the man who had taken over the position the last couple of years was now gone, but the question was whether Albert could still handle the job at the age of 38. The Angels also signed Chris Carter to fill in at first base; he at least had recent experience at the position even if no one considered him a defensive whiz. On May 4th, Pujols became the 32nd member of the 3,000 hit club with a single off Mike Leake of the Seattle Mariners in the 5th inning. He also entered an even more exclusive club, that of players with 3,000 hits and 600 homers, becoming just the fourth player to accomplish that feat, after Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and his contemporary Alex Rodriguez. He added another hit later in the game to pass Roberto Clemente, who died in the off-season after recording hit #3000 in his final game in 1972, as L.A. won the game, 5-0. On July 12th, he achieved another milestone with homer number 630, tying him with Ken Griffey Jr. for 6th on the all-time list; he also reached the top 25 on the all-time hit list that day when he matched Rickey Henderson's 3,055. The next day, however, he was placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his left knee. He returned after a couple of weeks, but the knee continued to bother him, and at the end of August, he underwent arthroscopic surgery and was done for the season. In 117 games, he had hit .245 with 19 homers and 64 RBIs for another disappointing season. The 64 RBIs gave him 1,982 for his career, making it almost certain he would join the very exclusive club of players with 2,000 or more RBIs some time during the following season.
On April 20, 2019, Major League Baseball made some hoopla about Pujols catching Babe Ruth when he recorded his 1,992nd RBI. However, this was based on the Elias Sports Bureau's version of Ruth's career RBI total, which only takes into account those he accumulated starting in 1920, when the statistic became official. Sources that consider the Babe's full career, starting in 1916, such as Baseball-Reference.com, credit him with 2,214, so Pujols' accomplishment wasn't really anything worth mentioning. He was 7th on the all-time list at that point. Similarly, when he passed Barry Bonds with his 1,997th RBI on April 28th, MLB said he was now third all-time, trailing just Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez, but this was discounting the totals put up by Ruth and Cap Anson, who were also ahead of him when their pre-1920 RBIs were taken into account. He reached the 2,000 mark with a solo homer in the 3rd inning against the Detroit Tigers on May 9th. Again, most headlines after the game said he was just the third player to reach the hallowed mark - but he was in fact the fifth. On June 13th, he hit his 200th homer as a member of the Angels, making him just the 6th player in history to have hit 200 or more homers for two different teams (he hit 445 for the Cardinals). In a strange quirk, it took him until June 21st of that season to play a game in Busch Stadium for the first time since leaving as a free agent when the Angels faced the Cardinals in an interleague game. The Cardinals faithful treated him like royalty during that series, with a number of standing ovations when he came to bat. On August 14th, he collected hit #3,167, moving him pas countryman Adrian Beltre for most hits by a player born outside the U.S. (and incidentally for a Dominican player). He finished the year at .244 in 131 games, with 23 homers and 93 RBIs. His OPS+ was 94, his third straight year below 100, and it was pretty obvious by this point that were it not for the two highly-priced seasons remaining on his contract, he would have been allowed to retire.
But he was back with the Angels in 2020, and he was not getting any better. After 19 games, he was hitting just .211 with little power for an Angels team that was once again on its way to missing the postseason. Still, on August 24th, he passed Alex Rodriguez with 2,087. MLB quickly dubbed him as having the second highest total of all time, although that was still discounting Babe Ruth's pre-1920 total (he had passed Cap Anson in the meantime as well). On September 13th, he hit homer #660 of his career, tying him with Willie Mays for 5th on the all-time list. He passed Mays on September 18th when he hit a pair of homers for his 60th career multi-homer game in a 6-2 win over the Rangers. He finished the season at .224 in 39 games, with 6 homers and 25 RBIs. His OPS+ of 80 was tied for the lowest of his career and marked his fourth straight season finishing below 100, after not having done so in his first 16. When he showed up in spring training in 2021, his wife Deidre posted on social media that he was starting his final season, creating a bit of a buzz and forcing Albert to go on the record and state that he taken no decision about the future beyond that year. But in fact, it was to be his final season: with Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh claiming most of the playing time at DH and 1B respectively, there was little playing time left for Albert, and when he did play, he hit just .198 in 24 games. On May 6th, the Angels bit the bullet and announced that Pujols had been designated for assignment with the purpose of handing him his release. Pujols stated that he was still interested in playing and hoped that not only would another team give him a shot, but one as a starting player as well. Apparently, the Angels' decision was prompted by the fact that Pujols had started to complain about his playing time, and while they had been willing to carry him on the roster for a final year in spite of his sub-standard production, they were not ready to do so if he became a disruptive influence. The decision did not go down well with everyone, as two of the most prominent former Dominican players who had known him for years, Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz, said that the Angels had handled the whole situation in a "shameful" manner, denying the possibility of ending an all-time great career with a level of dignity. But he did manage to find another team, signing on May 15th with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made his first appearance for his new team on May 17th, starting at first base and going 1 for 4 with an RBI. On May 29th, he collected his 1,356th extra-base hit to tie Babe Ruth for 4th place on the all-time list. He did pretty well for the Dodgers in a limited role, batting .254 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs in 85 games as a back-up first baseman and pinch-hitter. He also got to start a few games at first base against lefties during the postseason, with Max Muncy unavailable due to an injury. He indicated after the season that he did not consider himself retired and wanted to return as a player the following season if someone was willing to offer him a contract.
Pujols did indeed find another team - and it was his original one, the Cardinals. On March 27th, they offered him a one-year deal for $2.5 million. The recent adoption of the universal DH had created an opportunity for one of the greatest players in team history to return finish his career where it had started. Two of his old teammates, C Yadier Molina and P Adam Wainwright, were still with the team and were glad to reunite with Albert for what would likely be a final major league season for these veterans. The Cards named him their starting DH on Opening day, making it the 22nd straight year he was a starter in his team's first game - one shy of the record shared by Hank Aaron and Carl Yastrzemski. He hit his first homer of the year on April 12th, number 680 for his career, and still had an outside shot at being the fourth man to reach 700. On May 15th, for the first time of his career, he got to pitch in a game. In a rare twist, he pitched for the winning team, as he was sent to the mound in the 9th inning with the Cards leading, 15-2, over the San Francisco Giants, who had already thrown in the towel by bringing their own position player to pitch, with OF Luis Gonzalez taking over with two outs in the 7th. Pujols' inning was far from clean, as he gave up four runs, including a pair of homers by Gonzalez and Joey Bart, but his team's huge lead was never in serious danger. At 42, he was the oldest player to make his pitching debut since player-manager Lena Blackburne of the 1929 Chicago White Sox inserted himself into a game in what was the final playing appearance of his career. He also joined Babe Ruth as the only two players with 600 or more homers to have pitched in a game and his 2,988 career games before a first pitching appearance were the most in history, beating out David Concepcion. On May 18th, he moved into the all-time to-10 list for hits with 3,314, moving past Eddie Collins. That was according to Elias, and their list differed from others as they did not count Cap Anson's numerous hits in the National Association, and undercounted Collins' hit total by a a small number compared to other sources. On July 8th, he was named to the All-Star team fior the 11th and final time, as a special selection by the Commissioner in recognition of his lifetime achievements; Miguel Cabrera was named to the AL squad under the same provision. While it was still assumed after the Midsummer Classic that he would retire at the end of the season, he was not content to go quietly into that good night: on August 14th, he had his first multi-homer game of the year in a 6-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, and on August 18th he hit the first pinch-hit grand slam of his career in a 13-0 win over the Colorado Rockies. That brought his career home run total to 690 and there was a lot of talk that he surely would not retire if he found himself only a few homers short of the magic 700 number at the end of the year. As teammate Lars Nootbaar, who had grown up idolizing Pujols, put it jokingly, the record book consisted of "Albert and a bunch of people in black and white." Although even Nootbaar was not too young to remmber Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, two of the four men still ahead of him on the all-time home run list. Pujols confirmed that his plans to retire at the end of the season were firm, but apparently he was just getting started in terms of bashing out the long balls. He had another two-homer game on August 20th, then hit his 14th homer of the year two days later to up his career total to 693. He hit his 15th off Ross Detwiler of the Cincinnati Reds on August 29th; Detwiler became the record 450th pitcher to give up a gopher ball to Pujols, passing Bonds for most in history. The 8 homers in August were also tied for most in a month by a player 40 or older, with Bonds and Carl Yastrzemski. On September 10th, he hit his 17th homer of the season and 696th of his career to tie Alex Rodriguez for fourth place on the all-time list, behind Bonds, Aaron and Ruth. It was hit off J.T. Brubaker of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 6th inning of a 7-5 win. He did not stay tied with A-Rod for long as he hit another long ball the next day. He hit #699 and #700 in the same game, on September 23rd against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The first of his two long balls on that historic night came against Andrew Heaney in the 3rd and the milestone one came one inning later, off Phil Bickford. The Cardinals won the game handily, 11-0, with Albert driving in 5 runs. The two long balls gave him 21 for the season. On October 3rd, he homered in his final regular season at-bat at Busch Stadium (it was #702 for his career); he had also homered at Busch Stadium (although in a different iteration of the ballpark) in his first game there back on April 9, 2001. After the season, he was named the winner of the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He officially filed his retirement papers on October 31st, making it official. As a result, his final career numbers were 3,080 games, 3,384 hits, 686 doubles, 703 homers and 2,218 RBI.
One oddity that remained following Pujols' retirement and the love-in he had been subjected to in his final season with the Cardinals, was that he was still under contract to the Angeles under a personal services contract for the next ten years - one that was not affected by his release the year before. So even though the Cardinals would have loved to employ him in a variety of roles within their organization, the next steps in his life would be with the Angels. What they had in mind for him was to tutor their young hitters at their Dominican Academy, and also to serve as a spring training hitting instructor while acting as a team ambassador. He was also able to obtain a parallel job with Major League Baseball when he was named a special assistant to Commissioner Rob Manfred on June 5, 2023, to consult on issues related to player relations and baseball in his native country, the Dominican Republic, as well as working as an analyst with the MLB Network.
In spite of being one of the greatest players to come out of the Dominican Republic, he had never had a chance to play for a team in his native country until the 2021-22 off-season, when he played his first game in the Dominican League. He made it special, getting a walk-off hit in a win by the Leones del Escogido over the Tigres del Licey on October 31st. For his entire career, his playing rights had been the property of the Gigantes del Cibao, who had drafted him in 2002, although never playing a game for them; he had been traded to Escogido a few days earlier in return for Melky Mesa and Edward Paredes when he indicated his desire to play in his native country.
One of the reasons Pujols has hit into so many double plays in his career is that he is one of the best hitters ever at making contact. Of all active players at the start of the 2018 season, Pujols was the only one with more walks than strikeouts, except for a pair of players who had made their debut the previous year and had accumulated very few plate appearances. In an age when seasons of 150+ strikeouts were the norm for sluggers, he had never even struck out 100 times in a season.
- 2000 MVP Midwest League Peoria Chiefs
- 2001 NL Rookie of the Year Award
- 2001 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 11-time All-Star (2001, 2003-2010, 2015 & 2022)
- 3-time NL MVP (2005, 2008 & 2009)
- 2004 NLCS MVP
- 2-time NL Gold Glove Winner (2006/1B & 2010/1B)
- 6-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2001/3B, 2003/OF, 2004/1B & 2008-2010/1B)
- 2022 NL Comeback Player of the Year Award
- NL Batting Average Leader (2003)
- NL On-Base Percentage Leader (2009)
- 3-time NL Slugging Percentage Leader (2006, 2008 & 2009)
- 3-time NL OPS Leader (2006, 2008 & 2009)
- 5-time NL Runs Scored Leader (2003-2005, 2009 & 2010)
- NL Hits Leader (2003)
- 4-time NL Total Bases Leader (2003, 2004, 2008 & 2009)
- NL Doubles Leader (2003)
- 2-time NL Home Runs Leader (2009 & 2010)
- NL RBI Leader (2010)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 18 (2001-2012, 2014-2017, 2019 & 2022)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 14 (2001-2012 & 2015, 2016)
- 40-Home Run Seasons: 7 (2003-2006, 2009, 2010 & 2015)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 14 (2001-2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 & 2017)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 10 (2001-2006 & 2008-2011)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (2003)
- Won two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and 2011
|Barry Bonds||Albert Pujols||Ryan Howard|
|Jimmy Rollins||Albert Pujols||Albert Pujols|
|Albert Pujols||Albert Pujols||Joey Votto|
|NL Rookie of the Year|
|Rafael Furcal||Albert Pujols||Jason Jennings|
- Grounded into double plays, career: 426
- Doubles, right-handed batter, career: 686
- Intentional walks, right-handed batter, career: 316
- Intentional walks, right-handed batter, season: 44, 2009
- Most RBI by an NL rookie, 130, 2001
- Most Extra Base Hits by a rookie, 83, 2001
- Assists, first baseman, season, 185, 2009
- Consecutive seasons of 30 or more home runs, from start of career, 12
- Consecutive seasons of 30 home runs, 100 RBI and .300 batting average from start of career, 10
- Most home runs in first 3 seasons, 114, 2001-2003 (tied with Ralph Kiner)
- Most home runs in first 9 seasons, 366, 2001-2009
- Most home runs in first 10 seasons, 408, 2001-2010
- Most home runs in first 16 seasons, 591, 2001-2016
- Most RBI in April in NL history: 32, 2006 (tied with Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire; Juan Gonzalez had 35 in the AL in 1998)
- Most home runs in April: 14, 2006 (tied with Alex Rodriguez)
- Most home runs hit in the 1st inning, 145
- Most consecutive seasons leading the league in runs: 3, 2003-2005 (tied with 10 other players; Babe Ruth achieved it twice)
- Most consecutive seasons with 100 or more RBI by an NL player: 10, 2001-2010 (Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Alex Rodriguez had 13 in the AL; Al Simmons had 11 in the AL; Miguel Cabrera had 11 in the ML)
- Most seasons with 100 or more RBI: 14, 2001-2010, 2012, 2014, 2016-2017 (tied with Alex Rodriguez)
- Ted Berg: "9 times Albert Pujols was superhuman", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, June 3, 2017. 
- Scott Boeck: "Albert Pujols earns 3,000th hit, joining A-Rod, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays in exclusive club", USA Today Sports, May 4, 2018. 
- Rhett Bollinger: "Pujols stands alone atop foreign-born hits list: Future Hall of Famer drives in 3 to help the Angels down the Bucs", mlb.com, August 15, 2019. 
- John Denton: "Molina excited to reunite with Albert for final season", mlb.com, March 28, 2022. 
- John Denton: "Now pitching for the Cardinals ... Albert Pujols?", mlb.com, May 16, 2022. 
- John Denton: "Pujols at peace with retirement plans: 'I'm not chasing anything'", mlb.com, September 20, 2022. 
- John Denton: "Pujols lets emotions flow after joining 700 Home Run Club: 42-year-old slugger hits pair of dingers to join Bonds, Aaron and Ruth in elite group", mlb.com, September 24, 2002. 
- Mike DiGiovanna (Los Angeles Times): "Angels reveal roles Albert Pujols will fulfill under personal-services contract", Yahoo! News, November 14, 2022. 
- John Denton: "Pujols nearly retired in June", mlb.com, October 7, 2022. 
- Mark Feinsand: "'Never a right time' as Angels DFA Pujols", mlb.com, May 6, 2021. 
- Steve Gardner: "Albert Pujols becomes third player in MLB history to reach 2,000 RBI", USA Today, May 9, 2019. 
- Steve Gardner: "Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols becomes fourth MLB player to hit 700 career home runs", USA Today, September 23, 2022. 
- Alden Gonzalez: "Sources: Albert Pujols signing one-year, $2.5 million deal with St. Louis Cardinals", ESPN.com, March 28, 2022. 
- Maria Guardado: "Pujols adds 3,000-hit club to historic resume: Angels slugger also gets No. 3,001 to pass Clemente for 31st all-time", mlb.com, May 5, 2018. 
- Casey Harrison: "With HR, Pujols becomes third with 2,000 RBIs: Slugger joins Aaron, A-Rod as only members of exclusive club", mlb.com, May 9, 2019. 
- Richard Justice: "Pujols 'the perfect player' in 11 years with Cards: Led MLB in HRs, doubles from 2001-11 during historic start to career", mlb.com, May 1, 2020. 
- Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon and David Adler: "All the best trivia about Pujols' St. Louis return", mlb.com, March 28, 2022. 
- Matthew Leach: "Pujols' 10 most memorable moments", mlb.com, May 5, 2018. 
- Will Leitch: "Pujols rose from obscurity to MLB legend", mlb.com, May 6, 2021. 
- Mike Lupica: "Player of the century? So far, it’s Pujols", mlb.com, May 20, 2020. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Mike Trout-Albert Pujols stokes comparisons to Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris", USA Today Sports, August 5, 2015. 
- Bob Nightengale: "MLB legends Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols out to prove age is no burden", USA Today Sports, May 16, 2017. 
- Bob Nightengale: "For Albert Pujols, 700 - or more - home runs would bring spotlight 600 didn't", USA Today Sports, June 4, 2017. 
- Bob Nightengale: "As Shohei Ohtani attempts to make history, a hand from Albert Pujols would help", USA Today Sports, March 4, 2018. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Albert Pujols will cherish 3,000-hit milestone more than any other accomplishment", USA Today Sports, May 5, 2018. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Cardinals celebrate Albert Pujols in emotional return to St. Louis", USA Today, June 21, 2019. 
- Bob Nightengale: "'No regrets:' Albert Pujols, entering his 21st MLB season, reflects on what could be his final year", USA Today, March 3, 2021. 
- Joe Posnanski: "Spring surprise: Pujols wouldn't be denied in 2001: Slugger emerged from obscurity to earn spot on Cardinals' Opening Day roster", mlb.com, February 8, 2017. 
- Joe Posnanski: "Pujols' one unbreakable record: Halos slugger racking up remarkable number of GIDPs", mlb.com, February 7, 2018. 
- Manny Randhawa: "Pujols, Miggy headed to LA as All-Star legacy picks", mlb.com, July 8, 2022. 
- Manny Randhawa: "Pujols makes retirement official, signs papers", mlb.com, October 31, 2022. 
- Efraín Ruiz Pantin: "He's home! Pujols walks off in LIDOM debut", mlb.com, October 31, 2021. 
- Andrew Simon: "Pujols’ 700 home runs by the numbers", mlb.com, September 24, 2022. 
- Jackson Thompson: "Former MLB executive says Albert Pujols was lying about his age when he signed a $240 million contract with the Angels", Yahoo! Sports, March 2, 2021. 
- Matthew Trueblood: "Rubbing Mud: Aging an Angel", Baseball Prospectus, April 24, 2018. 
- David Venn: "Playing in D.R. 'dream come true' for Pujols", mlb.com, November 11, 2021. 
- David Venn: "Pujols means the world to Latin American peers: 'Everybody knows Albert is like a dad for us,' says fellow Dominican native Juan Soto", mlb.com, September 24, 2022.