History was made last night by 41-year-old Albert Pujols. The future Hall of Famer put his blazing speed on full display, becoming the oldest Angels player to steal third base in a 6-4 loss to the Rangers on Monday.
It wasn’t the speed of Pujols that allowed him to swipe third, it was his ability to catch pitcher Kyle Cody and the Rangers defense napping.
The double steal paid off, as Pujols came around to score on Kurt Suzuki’s RBI single to bring the Halos a bit closer, but they ultimately fell short in their late-game rally.
A few other history notes on Pujols swiping third base last night:
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He’s always been slow as molasses yet Pujols now has 20 percent of the Halos’ total stolen bases (5) through 14 games this season. Shohei Ohtani leads the Halos with two steals, while Dexter Fowler and Jose Iglesias each have one swipe.
Angels: Albert Pujols is still finding ways to impact the game at 41 years old.
The stolen base is a lost art in the slug-first approach of today’s baseball, so I’d argue they’re more impactful now than they were decades ago. It hasn’t been an Angels’ strength, as last season they finished 21st in the league with 21 steals.
One player I’d like to see steal more bases is Mike Trout. Going back to last summer, Pujols has as many swiped bags (1) as the Halos center fielder. Injuries and age take their toll, so it’s asking a lot for Trout to steal 30-plus bases in a season, but there’s going to be times throughout the year where he could make an impact on the bases in high-level moments, similar to a 41-year-old Pujols last night.
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Obviously Pujols isn’t the same feared hitter he was ten-plus seasons ago, and plenty of fans upset with his contract will let you know.
That being said, his IQ for the game is still at a Hall of Fame level, so he can find ways to impact the game and the team in other areas even if his athletic skills have diminished.