First baseman Albert Pujols, left, and pitcher C.J. Wilson have put up some… (Photos by Getty Images and…)
Career highlights for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson
Pujols started his career playing third base. He batted .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs, and was unanimously named the National League rookie of the year. His 37 home runs were one short of the National League rookie record, and his 130 RBIs set an NL rookie record.
Pujols moved to left field to accommodate third baseman Scott Rolen and hit .314 with 34 homers and 127 RBIs.
The Cardinals moved him to first base, and he responded with one of the best seasons in Cardinals history, batting .359 with 43 home runs, and 124 RBIs. He won the league batting title while also leading the league in runs, hits, doubles, extra-base hits, and total bases. Pujols joined Rogers Hornsby as the only players in Cardinals' history to record 40-plus homers and 200-plus hits in the same season.
Pujols signed a seven-year, $100-million contract extension with a $16-million club option for 2011. He hit .331 with 46 home runs and 123 RBIs for the season and was named most valuable player of the National League Championship Series, helping his team reach the World Series, where they were swept by the Boston Red Sox.
Pujols finished the season batting .330 with 41 home runs (including his 200th career homer), 117 RBIs, 97 walks, and 16 stolen bases and won the league MVP award. He also became the only major leaguer to have had a 30-homer, 100-RBI season in each of his first five years. The Cardinals were eliminated in six games by the Houston Astros in the NLCS.
Pujols set the record for the most home runs in April, at 14. He was put on the DL for the first time in his career in June and finished the season with a .331 batting average, 49 home runs and 137 RBIs. He hit .200 with a homer in the World Series as the Cardinals won the title over the Detroit Tigers.
Pujols became the fifth player to hit 25 home runs in his first seven seasons in the major leagues, and the first since Darryl Strawberry. On Aug. 22, he hit his 30th home run of the season, becoming the first major league player to hit at least 30 home runs in each of his first seven seasons.
He finished with a .357 batting average (which led the NL) with 37 homers and 116 RBIs and won his second league MVP award. He had surgery in October on his right elbow.
The 2009 season was the ninth consecutive season that he reached 100 or more RBIs and the fifth time he hit 40-plus home runs, winning his first home run title with 47. He also became the second player in major league history to hit 40 doubles and 40 home runs in a season three times (2003, 2004, 2009), joining Lou Gehrig. He was named player of the decade by the Sporting News and also was named league MVP for the third time.
On Aug. 15, Pujols hit his 30th home run of the season, extending his own major league record of most consecutive 30 home run seasons (10) to begin a career. On Aug. 26, he became the 47th player to hit his 400th career home run, and the first in major league history to do it in his first 10 seasons. On Sept. 11, Pujols reached 100 RBIs for the 10th consecutive year. Only Al Simmons has a longer streak at the beginning of a career, 11 years (1924–1934). Pujols joined Jimmie Foxx, Gehrig and Alex Rodriguez in having 10 consecutive seasons of 100-plus RBIs at any time in their career. Only two players besides Pujols have 10 consecutive years of 30 HRs and 100 RBIs at any time in their careers: Foxx and Rodriguez.
He began the season hitting .245 in April. On June 19 he collided with two Kansas City Royals players, causing a small fracture in his left wrist. He returned on July 5. He got his 2,000th career hit on July 30 but missed extending his record to 11 consecutive seasons from the start of his career of hitting .300 with 30-plus home runs and 100 RBIs, when he hit 37 home runs but batted .299 and had 99 RBIs in 147 games. On Oct. 22, in Game 3 of the World Series, Pujols joined Babe Ruth (1926, 1928) and Reggie Jackson (1977) as the only players to hit three home runs in a World Series game. Pujols was five for six with two singles, four runs scored and six RBIs, and became the first player in World Series history to get hits in four consecutive innings: fourth (a single), fifth (a single), sixth (a home run and three RBIs), and seventh (home run and two RBIs). He tied records for most home runs (three), most hits (five), and most RBIs (six) in a World Series game. Game 3 was his 70th postseason game. In those 70 games, he hit .343 with a .444 on-base percentage, and a .630 slugging percentage, with 18 home runs and 52 RBIs.
After missing all of 2004 because of an elbow injury, Wilson posted a 1–7 record and 6.94 earned-run average in 24 games during his rookie campaign with the Texas Rangers. However, he had greater success in the bullpen, where he was 1–2 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 games.