Albert Pujols, First Base, Los Angeles Angels, #5
Date of Birth: 1/16/1980
Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
College: Maple Woods Community College
Nicknames: Prince Albert, Phat Albert, The Machine
Albert Pujols, all star first baseman and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, was first signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1999 for $70,000. It took only two years for Pujols to make it to major league play, starting his active career with the Cardinals in 2001. In his rookie year with St. Louis, Pujols batted .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs.
Pujols became a free agent in 2012 and after 11 successful years with the Cardinals (2001-2011), he signed a lucrative 10 year, $254 million contract with the Angels. He had a good 2015 season, finishing with 147 hits, 22 doubles, 40 home runs, 95 RBIs, and a .244 batting average in 157 games. Defensively, at first base, he made 55 assists, 57 double plays, 718 putouts, and 5 errors in 95 games and he had a .994 fielding percentage.
On September 22, 2015, Pujols hit his 556th home run. With that home run, he earned fourteenth place on the all-time MLB home run list. He hit his 40th home run of the 2015 season on October 4th, the last day of the season, for his seventh season with 40 or more home runs. In 2016, his 31 home runs moved him into ninth place on the all time home run list.
In 2016, Pujols batted .268 with 159 hits, 19 doubles, 31 home runs, and 119 RBIs in 152 games.
Pujols had one of his poorest seasons in 2017. In 149 games, he had a career low batting average of .241. He also had a career low in doubles with 17. However, he still showed power with 143 hits, 23 home runs, and 101 RBIs. He had a career high strikeout number of 93 and a career low 37 walks. He was the Angels' DH for most of the season, playing defensively at first base in just six games.
Despite his poorer than usual performance in 2017, Pujols still made the record books on June 3rd when he hit a grand slam. It was his 600th home run and he was the first player in MLB history to reach that number with a grand slam. He became the fourth youngest player to ever get 600 home runs.
Pujols has been a superstar player and he has won many awards for his accomplishments. He has three NL MVP awards (2005, 2008, 2009), six Silver Slugger awards (2001, 2003, 2004, 2008-2010), and two Gold Gloves (2006, 2010). In addition, he has won the NL Hank Aaron award twice (2003, 2009), and he has led the NL in home runs twice (2009, 2010).
Pujols' batting accomplishments in 17 seasons in the major leagues include:
- 10 seasons with a batting average over .300, with a high of .359 in 2003
- 12 seasons with over 30 doubles, with a high of 51 in both 2003 and 2004
- 14 seasons with 30 or more home runs, with a high of 49 in 2006
- 14 seasons with over 100 RBIs, with a high of 137 in 2006
- 13 seasons with over 170 hits, with a high of 212 in 2003
Career batting statistics for Pujols through 2017 include:
- 2,575 games played
- 2,968 hits
- 619 doubles
- 614 home runs
- 1,918 RBIs
- 1,146 strikeouts to 1,251 walks
- .305 batting average
Career fielding statistics for Pujols at first base through 2017 include:
- 1,734 games played
- 1,432 assists
- 1,502 double plays
- 15,086 putouts
- 102 errors
- .994 fielding percentage
Pujols and his wife started the Pujols Family Foundation in 2005. His wife Deidre has a Down Syndrome child from a former relationship and one of the goals of the foundation is to provide support to people with Down Syndrome. The foundation also supports poor families in the Dominican Republic. More information on the foundation can be found at pujolsfamilyfoundation.org
Pujols married his wife Deidre on January 1, 2000. They have five children. In 2007, he became a US citizen.