Surefire future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols released by Angels originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Major League Baseball has one fewer active legend in the game as of Thursday afternoon with the Angels releasing future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.
It would be understandable if Pujols' decade in Los Angeles has fogged the memories of fans reminiscing on the scope of his career. Pujols ranged from above average to downright terrible in the last 10 years, but his 11 seasons in St. Louis are the gold standard for hitters.
Pujols was consistently great from day one with the Cardinals. In his 11 seasons with the team, his slash line was .328/.420/.627. His OPS+ was a ridiculous 170. He won three MVP awards and finished top-five in voting seven other seasons, one of just 11 players in MLB history to win the award three times. And two of the years he finished second were behind a steroids-infused Barry Bonds.
He hasn't announced yet if he is planning to retire, but if he does, Pujols will finish his career with 667 home runs, the fifth-most in MLB history. His Wins Above Replacement was dragged down in recent years, with negative-2.0 across the last four-plus years. But he still potentially finishes with 99.4 WAR, the most of any active player. And prior to his poor finish, he was just the 32nd player in MLB history with over 100 WAR.
There are a number of stats that highlight how incredible Pujols was at the plate, but he was arguably even more respected for how he conducted himself off the field. Pujols has a long career of community engagement and is considered one of the best teammates and leaders in every clubhouse he played in.
In every possible sense of the word, Pujols is an inner circle Hall of Famer who will be forever remembered as a legendary hitter and a generous human being. If this is the end, baseball will miss him dearly.