Monday, July 13, 2009

Baseball Perfection Incarnate?

"The first thing that a pitcher has to understand is that Albert is better than you." --Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer

We only get to see a few transformative sports figures come along in our lifetimes. Only a handful that are so surpassing in talent that you wonder how one person can break away from even the elite tier in such a substantive fashion.

You know the names: Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Ken Griffey Jr, Jerry Rice.
All of these players stand out from the crowd, all of them are household names. You don't need to know much about any of their sports or teams to recognize that those players are greatness personified.

But there's one man going right now that is so much better than everyone else in the world at his sport, that he belongs in that echelon. His name is Albert Pujols and he is quietly putting together one of the best careers in the history of baseball.

His strengths: All of the strengths. Yep, all of them.
His weaknesses: None.

Seriously. The traditional stats (HRs, RBIs, Batting Average) are eye-popping. His sabermetric stats are explosive. His fielding numbers lap the field. His ability to get on base and hit everything hard means that he is as likely to hit a home run as he is to strike out. That's lunacy!

ESPN recently profiled Pujols from the four main aspects of baseball: hitting, fielding, defense, and the approach pitchers take to him. It is a specatcular read and gives perspective to just how lucky we are to be sharing the planet Earth with the quasi-deity that is Albert Pujols.

ENJOY! (Click for the ESPN article)

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