Albert The Great...On magical days the best of players often wear Uniform Number 5.

    1. In the early spring days of the 2006 season, I was fortunate to have witnessed what could be considered one of the greatest regular season hitting displays since "The Man" ruled Cardinal nation. A brisk Saturday day game in early May in St. Louis is quite similar to the cold bracer one feels in Chicago's Nortshside, brown-ivied refrigerator. Of course you must substitue the overcast, windy atmosphere of the ancient Wrigley for a bright, sunny, 42-degree bone chiller in a newly christened Busch Stadium III. All the more superlative did the hitting atmosphere bring that day one of the purest modern-day hitting displays under harsh conditions I have ever witnessed. Somehow your eyes rule your emotions to a heightened degree of awe upon witnessing a very special sporting event as a spectator in the stands. On that cold, crisp day I would leave the warmth of an interior mezzanine viewing area to venture out into the stands for one sole purpose. For three glorius At Bats, I was "in the moment" with Albert and his adoring crowd. Fortunately I was privy to an unobstructed view looking directly down the third base foul line, exposing all of the meaty seats beyond and above the left field wall. Without researching Elias records for the opposition pitchers and team on that special day, the best recollection is of a trio of righthanded pitchers of some worthy note from either the Astros or Mets, charged with facing Albert. If memory serves me well enough, the name of Roy Oswalt comes to mind. I believe Albert may have had his number 44 that day. The hard-earned skills and abilities of this beautifully proportioned hitter were on full adournment in three of his five "opportunities" which manager Larussa so admired that day. I had never seen a hitter fully extend and connect (now known as "squaring up") as witnessed that cold day. To have the will and elevated power to send three consecutive At Bats far over the 330 foot barrier that afternoon left an indelible mark on my baseball-spectator career, spanning nearly 70 years. I do consider myself an evolving student of the game, and am able to recall certain games, players or individual plays over the course of several thousand-plus contests. Musial, Gibson, Tudor, McGee, Ozzie, Edmonds, Rolen, Molina and Pujols dot the very pinnacle of the Cardinal Hall landscape I have come to honor and worship, up close and very personal, over these many years. On that cold snap of a late winter/early spring day, I was very fortunate to have witnessed the greatness of Albert. #30 Submitted And Edited Via