The End of an Era: Pujols to Sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a three-run home run in the sixth inning during Game Three of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


The all-encompassing madness that has been Albert Pujols's venture into free agency has apparently come to an end. Tim Brown of Yahoo! has tweeted that Pujols decided this morning to sign with the Angels. Brown states that the contract is ten years in length, includes a full no-trade clause, and is for between $250 and $260 million. Buster Olney of ESPN has confirmed Brown's report.

And so ends one of the greatest eras in the rich history of the St. Louis Cardinals: The Pujols Era. Pujols burst onto the scene in 2001 and put up MVP-like numbers in winning the Rookie of the Year Award and kept on putting up MVP numbers for eleven seasons. Pujols won three MVP awards for the Cardinals and perhaps should have won more. Take a moment and let his stats over the last eleven years sink in:

G

PA

H

R

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

WAR

1705

7433

2073

1291

445

1291

.328

.420

.617

1.037

.430

87.8

Pujols had a historically unprecedented beginning to a baseball career. If his career were to end today, he would be a Hall-of-Famer. His Cardinals career has ended on this December 8, 2011, and he is undeniably one of the greatest to ever wear The Birds On The Bat. Here are how his numbers rank all-time in Cardinals history:

Player

Games

Player

Hits

Player

Home Runs

Musial

3026

Musial

3630

Musial

475

Brock

2289

Brock

2713

Pujols

445

O. Smith

1990

Hornsby

2110

Boyer

255

Slaughter

1820

Pujols

2073

Edmonds

241

Schoendienst

1795

Slaughter

2064

Lankford

228

Flood

1738

Schoendienst

1980

McGwire

220

Pujols

1705

O. Smith

1944

Hornsby

193

Boyer

1667

Boyer

1855

Bottomley

181

McGee

1661

Flood

1853

Simmons

172

Hornsby

1580

Bottomley

1727

Mize

158

Player

BA

Player

OBP

Player

SLG

Hornsby

.359

McGwire

.427

McGwire

.683

O’Neill

.343

Hornsby

.427

Pujols

.617

Mize

.336

Pujols

.420

Mize

.600

Medwck

.335

Mize

.419

Hornsby

.568

Musial

.331

Musial

.417

Hafey

.568

Pujols

.328

Cunningham

.413

Musial

.559

Hafey

.326

O’Neill

.406

Edmonds

.555

Bottomley

.325

Huggins

.402

Medwick

.545

Frisch

.312

Blades

.395

Bottomley

.537

Watkins

.309

Edmonds

.393

Collins

.517


St. Louis Cardinals fans were witnesses to the first half of what could be one of the greatest careers in the game's history, an era that included two World Series chamiopnships and a National League pennant. Pujols is undoubtedly one of the all-time great Cardinals but he will never be The Greatest Cardinal Of Them All. That distinction will forever belong to The Man.

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