I’m just kidding of course. There’s no real reason to think Albert Pujols wasn’t born on January 16, 1980. Before I get to the Pujols love fest, I have some birthday housekeeping to handle. Firstly, a very happy 26th birthday to fellow first-bagger Mark Trumbo. Who knew they shared a birthday? The waitress at Red Lobster is never going to buy that. In the past few days, I missed Erick Aybar’s birthday on the 14th and Bobby Grich’s on the 15th. Plenty of ice cream cake was consumed in their honor.
Sorry Mark, Pujols gets the spotlight today. The freshly turned 32-year-old is already Hall of Fame worthy but has a shiny new 10-year, $254 million deal to break records with the Angels. In 2001, Pujols began his reign. His 37 home runs and .329/.403/.610 line won the NL Rookie of the Year and finished 4th in the MVP voting. Barry Bonds was still pretty good back then.
Pujols has won three of his own MVPs since then with four (4!) runner-ups. Let’s play the WAR (wins above replacement) game. Take it away Fangraphs…
At 31, Pujols leads Bonds and Ted Williams in WAR but trails Babe Ruth. Pujols posted a career low 150 OPS+ over 650+ plate appearances in 2011. That was the ninth time he accomplished that in his career trailing Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. Pujols is a machine but you knew that already.
What do you get for a guy who just became super rich twice over and relocated to Southern California? After a quick glance at my bank account, I decided to get him nothing. I hope it’s the right size.