Top Ten Dodger Villains-8 Albert Pujols
By Scott Andes
Our next top ten will focus on the ten most villainous opposing players of all time. These are the guys that you loved to hate. These were all public enemies #1. Enemies of Dodger Blue. The worst of the worst. The bad guys. The guys that made you want to puke, or punch holes in your walls. The guys that ruined Many a Dodger win. Some even ruined entire playoff series, or worse. These are the most loathsome Dodger enemies of all time. Some were hitters, some were pitchers, but all were absolutely horrible. Let’s count them down and remember all of the reasons why we hate their guts. From hell’s heart we stab at thee! I present to you, the number eight Dodger villain of all time, the legendary annoying first baseman….
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Our next Dodger villain comes in at number 8. The next bad guy is the prince himself, Albert Pujols. Nobody, and I mean nobody has punked the Dodgers over the years quite like Pujols has. Pujols , may be the biggest enemy the Dodgers have ever had. Pujols came up as a rookie in 2001, and played with the Cardinals from 2001-2011 before signing with the Angels in 2012. Even though his career has been hampered by age, declining health, (Plantar Fascitis has really killed him since he joined the Halos), and a huge contract, he still is a great player, and very dangerous hitter. Let’s be glad he’s in the American League now and we don’t have to face him more than a few games a season.
But for a long time, Pujols destroyed the Dodgers every chance he got. It almost seemed like he took some kind of sick pleasure in it, and it was heartbreaking. This is a guy who won three NL MVP awards, nine all-star selections, a batting title, and led the league in home runs twice, OBP , and hits once, slugging and OPS thrice, and runs scored five different times. Pujols hit .300 with 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI in ten consecutive seasons.
Pujols is a career .321 hitter, with 492 home runs, an OPS of over a 1.000, and 2,347 career hits. Pujols has been one of the greatest players in all of Baseball over the last decade. So he’s done this to many teams.
But we’re here to talk about Albert’s crimes against the Dodgers. And man were there many. Pujols is a .295 hitter at Dodger Stadium, with eight home runs, and a .931 OPS. Against the Dodgers all time, Pujols is a .313 hitter with a .987 career OPS. Pujols has hit 17 home runs against the Dodgers with 56 runs driven in and 94 hits in 300 at-bats, and 361 plate appearances.
Pujols had a scurvy reputation for destroying opposing club’s dreams in the postseason. He excelled in the playoffs, and the opposing clubs that pitched to him paid the ultimate price. Pujols hit four home runs and batted .500 (14 for 28) in the 2004 NLCS to net himself the series MVP. In the 2011 NLCS against the Brewers Pujols hit .478 (11 for 23), with two home runs, and nine runs driven in. And of course nobody can forget his three home run game in the 2011 World Series against the Rangers.
For us though, the memories of the 2004 NLDS haven’t faded away. I can still remember Pujols’s massive three-run home run in game 4 that almost went out of Dodger Stadium. In that Division series, Pujols batted .333 (5 for 15) with two home runs. The Dodgers had won game three on the strength of Jose Lima’s shutout to force a game four. Our joy was short-lived when Pujols’s three-run blast broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning of the fourth game. Pujols brought in another run in a later inning on an RBI single to make the score 6-2 and end the Dodger’s season. Pujols is a right handed hitter, and had this huge sweeping powerful swing that could turn out your lights in an instant. The smart managers didn’t take their chances letting Pujols beat them. Back in his hey days, you best walk him.
The Boys in Blue had to face Pujols in the postseason one final time during the 2009 NLDS. That time around though, the Dodgers won, sweeping the Cardinals in three games. That was the series with the Matt Holiday error dropped ball in the lights, and the epic comeback in game two. The Dodgers deployed a better strategy in that series, issuing Pujols three intentional walks. Pujols was just 3 for 10 in that series, and drove in just one run without hitting a home run. Thankfully that is the last time the Dodgers have seen Pujols in the playoffs.
I must admit watching Pujols decline with the Angels into an aging overpaid Bum gives me a smug satisfaction. I don’t feel sorry for him. Not in the slightest, and neither should you. Smell you never Pujols.