Need a shoutout today to the great Albert Pujols, whose last year has been a wonderful victory lap back in a St. Louis uniform. Even better, he’s returned to being a useful player in a part-time role, worth 1.5 WAR, which is a worthy major leaguer, amazing at his age. Last night, he blasted two more homers to hit 700 in his career. Other than Barry Bonds, he’s the greatest player of my lifetime. Maybe Trout will eventually surpass that, but hard to see anyone else playing today end up being a bigger contributor to the game than Pujols. I know the years with the Angels were frustrating and didn’t end up looking good for him, but it’s not his fault that Arte Moreno was stupid enough to give him that contract (hey Arte, how’s that Anthony Rendon contract working out for you?).
To put this into perspective, according to Baseball Reference’s JAWS stat, Pujols is the second greatest first baseman of all time, behind only Gehrig, and it’s not even close between him and Jimmie Foxx at third. It might be true that looking at that list, you’d expect more first basemen to be among the greatest players of all time, but it’s not really true. I mean Jeff Bagwell was a great player, but he’s 6th all time among first basemen and other than “player for the Astros,” I don’t really think of Bagwell as that close to a true inner circle great. I suspect much of this has to do with the fact that unathletic fat guys tend to be at first early in their career, whereas better athletes tend to migrate to first as they age.
Anyway, Pujols is just a true great and it’s been a honor to see him hit for the last twenty plus years.