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Why a young Albert Pujols once thought he was sent down


Albert Pujols is one of the greatest MLB sluggers of all time, and now that he’s back with the St. Louis Cardinals, he’s ending his historic career in the place where it all began.

The Cardinals drafted Pujols in the 13th round of the 1999 MLB draft and quickly brought him up to the major leagues in 2001. He promptly won National League Rookie of the Year, and the rest is history. At 42 years old, he’ll soon retire as one of the best long-ball hitters in history. 

At the time of this writing, Pujols has 686 home runs to his name.

All is well that will end well for Pujols, but recently speaking on Audacy’s 2400Sports’ “Unwritten: Behind Baseball’s Secret Rules” show, the slugger recalled a time back in his rookie season when a locker snafu led him to think the Cardinals were sending him down to the minor leagues.

“I remember the last week when they’re cutting people down. I came in and my locker room was to the right. I used to share a locker room with one of the young guys. It’s early in the morning…I walk in, my locker room’s right to the right, right away. As soon as I walked in I didn’t see my locker room. I was like ‘Man, they sent me down. Well, great experience,’ right away. I didn’t even look to the left. The left side man? No chance…You weren’t even allowed to look that way, so I put my head down and I went to the office,” Pujols recalled.

“…I walked into Tony’s office and I shook his hand. I didn’t even give him a chance to even respond to me so I was like ‘Hey, I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity that you gave me. I had a really, really great spring, great experience. I think it really helped me out to take my game to the next level. And he’s looking at me kinda like ‘What is he talking about?’… He stopped me, he’s like ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ I was like ‘Well I know you guys sent me down today but it’s all good’…‘Where’s Albert’s locker? Where’s Albert’s locker?’ [La Russa called] ‘Tony, his locker is right there,’ Bro, I was between Edgar Renteria and Placido Polanco, they haven’t sent me down yet.”

No, the Cardinals didn’t send Pujols down, and they had no reason to. 

Pujols, a three-time NL MVP and 11-time All-Star, went on to win the World Series with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. 





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