You have probably gathered by this point that I like Albert Pujols. Of course, that would be the wrong conclusion for you to draw. I LOVE Albert Pujols. And I am not alone. Not only did the man take my favorite team from the doldrums of the 90’s to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011, but he did it with a work-ethic, a grace, and a power that restored my faith in a sport that had been rocked by scandal and steroid use. He restored my faith in humanity. He is not only a sports hero. He is a really great human being… a super hero. Did you watch the 60-Minutes’ piece? There isn’t anything more to say about that. Humility is part of the equation.
I got my love of baseball from listening to games on the radio with my Great Grandpa Raymond. We listened to the Minnesota Twins take on the baseball world on KGLO Radio in Mason City, Iowa. I heard Harmon Killebrew smack homers and Tony Oliva get key hits in crucial situations. I followed the exploits of Rod Carew. And then, the St. Louis Cardinals took over the 60’s. They were in the World Series three times and won it twice. Bob Gibson was pitching. Lou Brock played Left Field and stole bases. It was miraculous. I would go on to live and die with the Cardinals every baseball season, even though I could only follow them through the newspaper and occasionally when they played the Cubs on TV. Tim McCarver, Ted Simmons, Willie McGee, Tommy Herr, Ozzie Smith, Jack Clark, Mark Macgwire, Scott Carpenter, Scott Rolen… If those names don’t mean anything to you then you are not really a baseball fan, and you probably didn’t read this far anyway.
Anyway… he did it. 600 home runs. He is now part of an elite group in the record books. And there is no doubt he is one of the best baseball players that ever lived.