Mythical baseball legends Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson stand among him as Albert Pujols emptied a clip Saturday night against the Texas Rangers, becoming one of three players in World Series history to swing for the fences 3 times in one game.
He also became the only player in MLB history to have 3 4-hit games in one postseason. He also had the best postseason hitting performance in World Series history, with 5 hits in 6 at-bats, 3 home runs and 6 RBIs. All three of those stats tie the previous all-time Series best. His 14 total bases in the sets him alone at the top.
By grounding out in his first at-bat Saturday, Pujols was 0-for-7 against Texas, but never did anyone think he would break out of that slump the way he did after the first ground out. In 3 consecutive at-bats, he had 3 home runs — one which made pitcher Alexi Ogando’s balls drop off onto the mound.
With this Saturday night, Pujols submerges himself in the small pool of the best baseball players off all time. While it has been debated for a while as to if Pujols will go down in the books as the greatest right-handed hitter of all-time, Saturday night’s performance nearly folds the argument. This is a player who can change the complexion of a game with one swing; and while there are many who can say they’ve done that, none can say when they step up to the plate everyone in the stadium (including the opposing pitcher) expects him to do so.
Pujols’ mammoth moonshot in the 6th inning opened the flood gates for his home runs in the 7th and 9th innings — and the 9th inning home run just added insult to injury. Against a 96 mph fastball from Ogando in the 6th, Pujols turned on a ball that landed 423 feet from home play, but easily could’ve been 500 feet from it if not for some suite’s windows stopping its momentum.
The best part of the video watching Pujols’ first home run is watching the guy behind home plate watch the moonshot. Look for the man with shoulder-length hair right behind Pujols. His face is covered when Pujols is holding the bat in his regular stance. I wont describe what happens with the guy, I’ll just let you watch.
When the ball hit the bat, everyone in the world watching knew that ball was gone. If FOX wouldn’t have gone to another camera angle to follow the ball, it wouldn’t have mattered because everyone knew it was gone. I’m recalling the Albert Pujols-Brad Lidge ordeal right now. That too was a beast home run.
Pujols had a special night and even he knew it.
The fact that Pujols cemented his name among mythical legends of baseball is one thing, that he did it in a Cardinals’ uniform is quite another. People will remember Saturday night for quite a while, just as Brad Lidge remembered that night in 2005. Years from now, Pujols will be mentioned in the same sentence as the two he shares the record with now. And he, unlike Ruth and Jackson, wont have set the record in a Yankees uniform.
With all the talk about free agency for Pujols this offseason, the importance of him doing this in a Cardinal uniform is unattainable in value. He needed this to get out of his slump, but just as much, every Cardinal fan everywhere needed it. This was just a breath of fresh air waking us up and yelling, “SIGN HIM UP NOW!”
People question the Cardinals ability to resign Pujols this offseason. I question how the Cardinals can afford not to resign him. There’s no player in my lifetime, and maybe my dad’s lifetime, who has ever been so important to resign to the team he’s made a Hall of Fame career on than Pujols. If he didn’t choose to resign or the Cardinals “couldn’t afford him” (which is a joke!) it would go far beyond anything we see year-in-and-year-out.
I’m not saying the Cardinals would be cursed, but it would be something similar to the Red Sox giving up Babe Ruth. There’s no question. Giving up that sort of talent and star power, and a player who has been the face of your team and is a beloved player everywhere, is a huge loss and hopefully the Cardinals will recognize that.
Whether your bank account says you can afford it or not, you cannot afford to watch him sign with another team. That’s the worst nightmare anyone has happened.
Pujols’ monster game will leave an image in everyone’s mind. He had this night as a Cardinal, setting a historic record in the World Series. He did it in a Cardinal uniform, and people will always remember that. And it will never look the same if Pujols leaves. The Cardinals are in the World Series, everyone in St. Louis loves you. You could be one of those few special players who play an entire career with one franchise.
Who would want to leave that?
For your enjoyment, here’s another video (a better video) of all of Pujols’ three home runs… straight from the Cardinals’ website: Moonshots