I’m sitting in my living room at 8 o’clock at night, tuning into the 2011 World Series. Obviously, the Cardinals and Rangers are playing – neither team ranking on my fandom radar – so I’m just hoping to see quality baseball.
The TV guys are interviewing Cardinals players, and when asked about Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, Matt Holiday responds:
“People ask me all the time what it is like to play with Albert Pujols. I don’t know how to respond. In my opinion, he’s the greatest right handed hitter of all time.”
This piqued my interest. What a bold statement. Apparently, Holiday thinks he knows enough about baseball’s illustrious history to make such a claim (I doubt it). But it also made me scratch my chin and wonder…
Is he right?
Let’s consider the best right handed hitters of all time (post dead ball era, sorry Honus Wagner). Manny Ramirez. Alex Rodriguez. Pete Rose. Joe Dimaggio. Jimmie Foxx. Hank Aaron. Willie Mays.
Quite the group, eh? I thought so, too. But let’s take a peak into Big Al’s resume.
Career Averages:.328 batting average, .420 on base percentage, 41 doubles per year, 40 homers per year, four times led the league in intentional walks and total bases, finished in the top three in MVP voting 8 times in eleven seasons.
Wow. If he plays five more seasons at this level, he will have hit 645 home runs (would be fourth all time), 660 doubles (would be 7th all time) 1934 runs batted in (would be 7th all time). Then lets say he plays a few years at a normal pace (think 2011 Derek Jeter), Pujols could end up being the all time home run king while sporting a .330 average and winning 5-6 MVP awards.
So, yeah, I think it isn’t crazy to call Pujols the best right handed hitter of all time.
More about Pujols..
If the Cardinals win the World Series, doesn’t that force him to stay in St. Louis? Honestly, there is no better baseball town in America, and those people LOVE Albert. Holiday compared it to Larry Bird in Boston and Michael Jordan in Chicago. No exaggeration there, folks. There are more Pujols jerseys at a Cardinals game than Brady jerseys at Gillete Stadium. The Cardinals are probably gonna offer him in the ballpark of $250 million. The Yankees could probably cough up $290-300, but why would he want to go to New York? Ask Mark Texeria, CC Sabathia, and Alex Rodriguez how moving to the Bronx helped their careers out. Besides, can’t you envision a scenario in which Pujols signs back with the Cards and the Yanks shrug their shoulders and throw a boatload of money at Prince Fielder? Me too.
Im cheering for St. Louis to keep their superstar, and I am willing to bet that deep down Albert is, too.
There’s nothin’ like October baseball!