West Coast Pre-Gamethread Appetizer: Albert Pujols & the St. Louis Cardinals Triple Crown

Albert Pujols swatted his eighth home run of the 2011 season last night, bringing him to within three of team-leading Lance Berkman who has knocked eleven over the wall so far this season. Driving in himself with the solo home run, Pujols upped his season RBI tally to 26, five behind the second-place Matt Holliday and nine behind the team-leading Berkman. Heading into tonight's game, Pujols has a batting average of .268, which places him eighth on the Cardinals behind David Freese (.356), Holliday (.349), Berkman (.341), Jon Jay (.329), Yadier Molina (.324), Ryan Theriot (.297), and Colby Rasmus (.282).

For a player often making a run at the National League Triple Crown--indeed, Pujols finished first in the league in home runs and RBI last season--it is an indication of the sluggish start for the slugging superstar that he finds himself trailing his teammates in every one of the Triple Crown statistical categories. This season Pujols finds himself in uncharted territory. Literally, no St. Louis Cardinals chart listing the team leaders in BA, HR, or RBI has ever had him lower than second place, and that only happened once, in the MV3 '04 season of myth and legend, when Scott Rolen bested him in total RBI by just one. Pujols's consistency never ceases to amaze, but his place atop the team totals further increases its impressiveness. A breakout season by JD Drew was not better than Pujols as a rookie, none of Jim Edmonds's great home run seasons bested Pujols, others hitting behind him did not produce more RBI for that hitter save once.

YEAR

AVG.

HR

RBI

2001

.329 (1)

37 (1)

130 (1)

2002

.314 (1)

34 (1)

127 (1)

2003

.359 (1)

43 (1)

124 (1)

2004

.331 (1)

46 (1)

123 (2*)

2005

.330 (1)

41 (1)

117 (1)

2006

.331 (1)

49 (1)

137 (1)

2007

.327 (1)

32 (1)

103 (1)

2008

.357 (1)

37 (1**)

116 (1)

2009

.327 (1)

47 (1)

135 (1)

2010

.312 (1***)

42 (1)

118 (1)

 

*In 2004, Scott Rolen had 124 RBI.

**In 2008, Ryan Ludwick also hit 37 HR.

***In 2010, Matt Holliday also hit for a .312 average.

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