Albert Pujols is a legendary player. One of the greatest hitters of this generation, and he stacks up favorably against some of the greatest hitters of past generations as well. Only three players have a better career OPS+ (168) and a better career slash line (.324/.414/.607) than King Albert with at least 6,000 PA, they are; Lou Gehrig (179 OPS+, .340/.447/.632), Ted Williams (190, .344/.482/.634) and Babe Ruth (206, .342/.474/.690). Granted, they have between 1,500 and 2,500 more career plate appearances than Pujols has, but that’s as esteemed company as it gets. Historical figures that we, as fans, have yet to see since (Of course Mike Trout could be one of those players, but that’s another drool fest altogether). There is one thing those three aforementioned players never did in a game however. They never hit two home runs while collecting three intentional walks in the same game.
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t history, but Albert Pujols was a part of a little bit of history in this afternoon’s game against the Texas Rangers when he did swat two big fly and receive three intentional passes (all of which were followed by Josh Hamilton outs, which is another bed burning affair altogether). It was only the third time in Major League history (And the first time in American League history) that a player has accomplished this feat. The other two players? David Wright in 2007 and Claudell Washington in 1980 (Of course it took Washington nine at bats to accomplish the feat). Pujols, like Wright, did it in five. After homering in the first at bat, he was intentionally walked in his next two; they came after him in his fourth at bat and after that home run, they gave up on getting him out in his final at bat of the day.
First and foremost, anyone who can fit “LOL” into “Rangers,” let me know (LOLRangers, RangLOLs, TexLOLs RangLOLS?). Secondly, it illustrates quite well just how deeply the Rangers fans have gotten into Hamilton’s head in this early season series. Only six times prior to today had a hitter been intentionally walked with Hamilton on deck, and the last time was in 2010. The Rangers know all too well just how much damage Hambone can do in that park, and Ron Washington’s decision to face him instead of Pujols was rewarded each time.
Regardless of Hamilton’s struggles, this one is about Albert Pujols. He showed today just how dangerous and respected he is as a hitter – Or he just owns Rangers pitching with nine home runs in his last 15 games in Texas – and fans won’t have to wait until May for Pujols to finally get a hold of one. Cheer up everyone. The team may be 2-3 in this young season, but as Albert showed today, this isn’t April of 2012. And if Pujols’ outburst wasn’t proof enough, check the box score, even Peter Bourjos went ka-boom today.