Major League Baseball All-Star Albert Pujols played first base for the St. Louis Cardinals for 11 seasons before signing with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, taking with him two World Series rings and three National League MVP Awards.
When he was 16 years old, Albert Pujols immigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States with his family, settling in Independence, Missouri. Speaking little English, Pujols's transition to life in America was helped by baseball, and he turned out to be a phenomenon from the start. Pujols batted over .500 in his first season at Fort Osage High School in Independence and earned all-state honors twice.
Pujols graduated from high school in December 1999, and then attended Maple Woods Community College in the Kansas City area. He played baseball there for one season before being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 draft.
Albert Pujols moved through the minor league farm system steadily, drawing attention from the home office for his outstanding play. In 2001, Cardinals superstar Mark McGwire reportedly told manager Tony La Russa, “If you don't put this guy on the roster for the 2001 season, it might be one of the worst moves you make in your career.” La Russa did so, and that year Pujols was named to the National League All-Star Team (the first of nine times over the next 10 years), had an on-base streak of 48 consecutive games, and was unanimously named the National League Rookie of the Year.
The accomplishments of Albert Pujols are nearly too numerous to list, but among them are two home run titles, a batting crown, three National League MVP Awards and a nod from Sports Illustrated as its Player of the Decade. He led the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Series championships and set both Cardinal team records (grand slams, assists, multi-home run games) and MLB records (most Player of the Month Awards, most extra-base hits, assists by a first baseman).
Following 11 outstanding seasons with the Cardinals, Pujols signed a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in December 2011. Although he struggled to match his lofty numbers from previous years due to injuries, Pujols proved a potent slugger when healthy for the Angels, mashing career home run No. 500 in 2014.
Off The Field
Pujols married his wife Deidre on Jan. 1, 2000. The couple has four children, Isabella, Albert Jr., Sophia, and Ezra.
When he is not on the baseball diamond, Pujols and his wife oversee the Pujols Family Foundation. The foundations is a not for profit organization that “exists to honor God and strengthen families,” helping those living with Down syndrome and the impoverished in the Dominican Republic. Also linking Pujols with the community is the Albert Pujols Wellness Center for Adults with Down Syndrome in Chesterfield, which serves a population dear to his heart.
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