José Alberto Pujols Alcántara, world renowned as Albert Pujols, was born in the Dominican Republic on January 16, 1980. He is a highly regarded hitter who has shown a "combination of contact hitting ability, patience, and raw power." Here are some very interesting facts about the baseball player:
He was born Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantara on January 16, 1980, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
He was raised by his paternal grandmother America Pujols along with his uncle and aunts. He was the only son to his father Bienvenido Pujols. His parents divorced when he was three years old.
Pujols would often carry his father home, who was an alcoholic. Despite this he still idolizes his father, who was a great softball pitcher and would wear his father’s jerseys and move around his neighborhood.
In 1966, when he was sixteen he along with his father and grandmother migrated to New York before settling down in Independence, Missouri.
He honed his skill playing with boys older than him pitching at 90 to 93 miles per hour. He used playing catch with limes, using a gloves made from a milk carton.
While at Fort Osage High School, as a senior he was considered to be older than his 18 years and he walked 55 of 88 times in protest. In the limited opportunities he got he hit eight homers in the 33 at bats he was given.
He earned a scholarship to Maple Woods Community College, after his graduation from school. In his first game, playing shortstop, he turned an unassisted triple play and his grand slam.
Pujols met his wife Deidre, at Kansas City dance Club in 1988 and they married on January 01, 2000, with just $ 150. They have five children.
When he was dating Deidre, he would baby sit her daughter Isabella, from her previous marriage, when she was away to work. The couple support people with Down syndrome, a condition Isabella was born with.
He was drafted as 402nd overall pick in the 13th round of the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft, by St. Louis Cardinals. He initially refused their offer of $10,000 until it was increased to $60,000.
When Pujols was drafted very low, he briefly considered giving up baseball. He took up a job in pizzeria and worked part time as a caterer at Kansas City area country club.
He made his minor league debut in 2000, with the Peoria Chiefs of the single-A Midwest League playing third base. He finished second in the league in with a batting averaging of .324 with 128 hits, including 32 doubles, six triplets, 17 home runs and 84 RBIs in 109 games. He was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player and named to the All-Star Team.
In 2001, Pujols was promoted to major league and had one of the greatest rookie seasons in history with .329 hits, 47 doubles, 37 homers, 130 RBIs and 112 runs.
He played in four positions and was named the ‘National League Silver Slugger Award’ winner and was unanimously named the NL Rookie of the Year 2001.
In 2002, he became the first player in major league history to hit over .300 with at least 30 home runs, 100 runs scored and 100 RBIs in his first two seasons. He was considered as most outstanding hitter by MLB.com.
On September 20, 2003, he joined Ralph Kiner, to hit 114th home run the most by a player in his first three seasons.
He ended the 2003 season with batting average of .359 to lead the National League batting title and became the youngest player since Tommy Davis in 1962. He also led the league with 212 hits and 51 doubles. He was awarded the ‘Major League Player of the Year’ from The Sporting News.’
Pujols’s performance through the season earned him $ 100 million contract extension on February 20, 2004, for seven year, including $ 16 million club option for 2011. He was moved from third to first base for the season.
During his 2005 season he hit his 200th career home run to become the third youngest to do so and for the first time in his career he was awarded the ‘National League Most Valuable Player.’
Despite losing his NLMVP award to Ryan Howard by 388 to 347 points in 2006, he won the ‘Golden Glove’ and ‘Fielding Bible’ awards for first base.
In 2005, he and his wife Deidre launched the ‘Pujols Family Foundation’ dedicated to their ‘commitment to faith, family and others.’ The organization promotes awareness of Down syndrome and works to support those who have it and their family.
In 2006, he along with Hanon family opened a Pujols 5 Westport Grill, a restaurant, which was renamed the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame Grill. In 2011, an anonymous donor commissioned 10 foot statute of Pujols outside the restaurant.
The 2008 season was rewarding after a lackluster 2007. He won his second ‘NLMVP’ award in addition to his fourth ‘Sliver Slugger Award.’ He was also named ‘Sporting News Player of the Year’ and for his work off the field, he was awarded ‘2008 Roberto Clemente Award.’
In April 2009, Pujols’ home run in an 8-2 win against Cubs was also his 1000th career RBIs, which makes him the fifth Cardinals and 260th player in all-time list.
In 2009, he stepped in to support ‘Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Tournament’ when the sponsors backed out at the last minute. Pujols and Coolbaugh had played together in St. Louis in 2002.
In December 2011, he signed a 10 year contract with worth $ 254 million with Los Angeles Angels, that includes a full no trade clause. Earlier he had rejected the Cardinals offer of five years deal as being humiliating.
In August 2013, in a radio talk show, former Cardinals hitting coach, Jack Clark, accused Pujols of using performance-enhancing drugs. On October 04, Pujols filed a defamation lawsuit, which was settled out of court.
In August 2014, he was named in the post season All-Star team to take part in a five games All-Star Series against Japan’s national team, Samurai Japan.
On June 03, 2017, he hit his 600th home run of his career to become the fourth youngest to achieve the feat. He also completed his 11,000 career plate appearance a month later.
He became a United States citizen on February 07, 2007, after he scored perfect 100 on his U.S citizenship. The small public ceremony was attended by about two dozen friends and family members.