St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols has been selected to the MLB All-Star Game by baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and a CBA wrinkle.
We wrote about the possibility of Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols being selected to the MLB All-Star Game because of a wrinkle in the latest CBA that would allow commissioner Rob Manfred to elect two “special” selections.
And on Friday, MLB made it official: Pujols, the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame slugger, has been selected to the All-Star Game. It marks his 11th career selection and what is highly likely his last, as he has made it abundantly clear since he re-signed in St. Louis that this would be his final season in the majors.
What a way for Pujols, 42, to go out. In his first 11 seasons in St. Louis, Pujols was arguably the best player in baseball. He hit at least 34 home runs in each season from 2001-2011 (he hit over 41 in each season from 2003-2006). He averaged .359 in 2003 and posted a 187 OPS+, with his career-high being a 192 OPS+ in 2008. The numbers that he posted, quite simply, were video game like.
Pujols, of course, signed with the Los Angeles Angeles in 2012 and while he was not the same player that he was with the Cardinals, was still an instrumental part to the franchise. He still has relationships with the team, including Mike Trout. Now, he gets to go back to Los Angeles and be honored in the city that he played in for 11 seasons (10 with the Angels, 1 with the Dodgers) and in front of all the biggest stars in baseball.
For Pujols, it’s a deserving honor, and he’s going to be joined in LA with fellow Cardinals teammates Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. What would make it sweeter is if his longtime friends and teammates Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina would join him, but Molina is in Puerto Rico rehabbing an injury that has kept him out over a month.
Still, it’s a well-deserved honor for Pujols, and a great move by Manfred and the league office to honor Pujols in this way. And a great way to send off one of baseball’s greats into the final half of his career and eventually the next chapter of his life.