Sports Performer of the Year
One day this summer, a National League scout was discussing the Cardinals’ signature player when he said, “They should promote
Pujols to a higher league. He’s too good for this one.”
Indeed, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has been almost too good for the National League since he came onto the scene in 2001. This year, for the ninth consecutive season – all the seasons with the Cardinals – Pujols hit more than .300. For the ninth straight year, Pujols cracked more than 30 home runs and for the ninth straight season, Pujols had more than 100 RBIs.
His 2009 numbers of .327 batting average, league-leading 47 homers and 135 RBIs almost surely will net Pujols his third Most Valuable Player award and second in succession when the balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is announced next week.
Though he never has led the league in RBIs or won a Triple Crown, Pujols has won the mythical Triple Crown for the National League in the last decade with a batting average of .334, including 366 homers and 1,112 RBIs spanning his nine seasons.
Over the past season, Pujols led the Cardinals to their fifth divisional title (they tied for another) in this decade. His 47 home runs also allowed him to become the first Cardinal other than Mark McGwire (1998-99) to lead the league in home runs since Johnny Mize did it in 1940.
His popularity isn’t limited to the St. Louis area. Pujols was the top vote-getter among all players for the 80th All-Star Game this summer in St. Louis. Defensively, he set a major league record this year for assists by a first baseman with 185. In addition, he led the Cardinals in stolen bases with 16.
Pujols 2009 Averages
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
160 568 124 186 45 1 47 135 115 64 16 4 .327 .443 .658