The Los Angeles Angels continue their road trip with a weekend visit to St. Louis. Prior to Albert Pujols‘ first visit to Busch Stadium as an Angel, baseball fans should think back to the dominant first half of the future Hall of Famer’s career.
“The Machine” was unstoppable during his 11 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols hit for a .328 average and slugged .617, swatting 445 home runs in a Cardinal uniform. He collected three National League MVP’s, six Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, and an NL Rookie of the Year Award. His prolific play at the plate and in the field led St. Louis to a pair of World Series titles.
Albert Pujols’ Greatest Moments in a Cardinals Uniform
Pujols signed a mammoth 10-year deal with the Angels in 2011. His athleticism and consistency have steadily declined since arriving in Anaheim, but he remains a defining player of his generation.
St. Louis welcomes Pujols back this weekend. Let’s take a look at his four greatest moments in a Cardinals uniform.
Winning the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year Award
At just 21 years old, Pujols debuted with the Cardinals and played 161 games as a rookie. He spent most of his time in the outfield or at third base in 2001 and finished the year at the plate with 37 home runs and a 1.103 OPS. After being named to his first All-Star Game, he cruised to the NL Rookie of the Year Award and finished fourth in MVP voting behind Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Luis Gonzalez.
As a team, the Cardinals finished the season 93-69 but lost in the Divisional Series to the eventual World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Over the next decade, Pujols was a force to be reckoned with in the NL Central.
Winning the 2006 World Series
Amidst his reign as the best hitter in baseball, Pujols earned his first World Series ring in October of 2006. St. Louis finished off the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 in front of their home crowd at Busch Stadium. Pujols’ dominant regular season (49 HR, 137 RBI, 1.102 OPS) was second only to the monster numbers put up by Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies. Howard edged out Pujols in the MVP race just one season after the St. Louis star reeled in the first MVP honors of his career.
Earning the Roberto Clemente Award in 2008
The annual Roberto Clemente Award goes to the MLB player who demonstrates great character and gives back to his community. The award is named after the Hall of Fame outfielder who was celebrated for his community involvement off the field. This honor is right at the top with the rest of Pujols’ many accomplishments. Expect Cardinals fans to give Albert a warm welcome back to St. Louis this weekend.
Hitting Three Home Runs in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series
Before leading the Cardinals to unforgettable wins in Games 6 and 7 to take the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers, Pujols made history during game three in Arlington. He crushed three home runs to power the Cardinals’ 16-run offensive onslaught. Pujols joined all-time greats Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only hitters to accomplish the feat. He finished 5-for-6 with six RBIs, supplanting his performance as one of the best in World Series history.
The Cardinals and the Angels start their three-game set Friday night, June 21st, at 8:15 EDT.
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