Pujols, Albert


Pujols, Albert
▪ 2007
 In 2006 Albert Pujols of the Major League Baseball St. Louis Cardinals was unable to retain his National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) title from 2005, despite batting .331 with 49 home runs and 137 runs batted in (RBIs). He did win the only thing better than an MVP award—a World Series championship. It was the muscular first baseman's first World Series title and the Cardinals' first since 1982. Pujols hit three home runs and drove in six runs in the Cardinals' surprising play-off run, which included a series win over the San Diego Padres (three games to one), victory over the New York Mets (four games to three) in the National League Championship Series (NLCS), and finally a commanding four-games-to-one win over the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

      José Alberto Pujols was born on Jan. 16, 1980, in Santo Domingo, Dom.Rep. His passion and skill for baseball were inherited from his father, who was a popular pitcher in the Dominican Republic. The Pujols family immigrated to the U.S. when Albert was 16, and they eventually settled in Independence, Mo. Pujols impressed major-league scouts with his play at both the high-school and collegiate level, and he was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 draft. He held out for a better signing bonus, however, and did not enter the minor leagues until the 2000 season. That would be his only season in the minors, as an impressive performance in spring training earned him a spot on the Cardinals' 2001 opening-day roster.

      In his rookie season Pujols was expected to be a bench player who would pinch hit and get occasional starts in the outfield or at first or third base, but injuries to other players and his own tremendous ability at the plate made him a regular in the lineup. That season he played in 161 games, batted .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs, and was the unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the Year. Pujols never finished worse than fourth in the MVP balloting in any of his six seasons in the big leagues. For the first four years, he found himself stuck behind Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, including two straight years (2002 and 2003) as MVP runner-up to Bonds. Nevertheless, Pujols collected more than his share of awards, including the 2004 NLCS MVP and Silver Slugger awards in 2001, 2003, and 2004. In 2005 he hit .330 with 41 homers and 117 RBIs and finally was named NL MVP. In 2006 he won his first Gold Glove award for his excellent defense at first base.

James Hennelly

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▪ American baseball player
in full  José Alberto Pujols Alcántara 
born Jan. 16, 1980, Santo Domingo, Dom.Rep.
 
 Dominican-born American professional baseball player who was one of the most prolific hitters of the early 21st century.

      Pujols was introduced to baseball early in life by his father, who was a popular pitcher in the Dominican Republic. The Pujols family immigrated to the United States when Albert was 16, and they eventually settled in Independence, Mo. Pujols impressed major league scouts with his play at both the high-school and collegiate level, and he was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 draft. He held out for a better signing bonus, however, and did not enter the minor leagues until the 2000 season. That was his only season in the minors, as an impressive performance in spring training earned him a spot on the Cardinals' 2001 opening-day roster.

      Presumed to be a reserve as he entered his first season, Pujols instead played his way into the starting lineup. He appeared in 161 games, posted a .329 batting average with 37 home runs and 130 runs batted in (RBIs), and was the unanimous choice for 2001 National League (NL) Rookie of the Year. Pujols continued to put up impressive offensive numbers in the following seasons and was twice (2002 and 2003) the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) runner-up to Barry Bonds (Bonds, Barry). Pujols collected a number of other awards, including the 2004 NL Championship Series MVP and Silver Slugger awards in 2001, 2003, and 2004. In 2005 he hit .330 with 41 home runs and 117 RBIs and was named NL MVP.

      In 2006 Pujols bettered the batting statistics of his previous season, hitting .331 with 49 home runs and 137 RBIs, and finished as MVP runner-up for the third time in his short career. That year he also experienced his greatest postseason success, as he helped lead St. Louis to a commanding four-games-to-one win over the heavily favoured Detroit Tigers in the World Series, giving the Cardinals their first title since 1982. In 2008 Pujols was named NL MVP after finishing the season with a .357 batting average and 116 RBIs.

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Universalium. 2010.

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