The top 10 athletes of the 2000’s…..No. 8December 14, 2009
The past decade in baseball will be refered to by most as the “steroids era,” as there were few star players who excelled in the 2000’s without being linked to HGH and/or other performance enhancing drugs. Nonetheless, the number 8 athlete is considered one of the greatest players ever, without the aid of steroids. Likewise, this athlete ranks within the top 15 players in major league history in on-base percentage (twelfth), slugging percentage (fourth), on-base plus slugging (OPS; fourth), and adjusted OPS (tied for sixth) before the age of 30.
The number 8 athlete after the jump!
During this decade, Albert Pujols of the Cardinals racked up various awards and honors that have already placed him amongst the great sluggers in Mlb history. He appeared in 8 all-star games, won 5 Silver-Slugger awards, 3 MVP’s, was the rookie of the year in 2001, the NL batting champ in 2003, and even won a Gold-Glove in 2006 when his Cardinals won the World Series.
From 2001 to 2005, Pujols hit 201 home runs, second all-time for the most hit in a player’s first five seasons. By 2009, he had reached the 350-homer plateau at the age of 29—the third-youngest to do so—and surpassed Ralph Kiner’s record for most home runs in his first nine seasons. In so doing, Pujols became the first player to hit 30 or more home runs in the first nine seasons of his career, as well the second player to have 100 or more RBIs in the same time span.
In his first 5,000 career at bats, Pujols had amassed 372 doubles, 358 home runs, and 14 triples for a total of 744 extra-base hits, the most in NL history, and is the second player in Major League Baseball to post nine consecutive seasons with 30 doubles, a .300 batting average, 30 home runs, and 100 runs batted in or better (Lou Gehrig). He has scored 100 or more runs in eight of his nine seasons.
Pujols is well-known for his all-around ability as a player to hit for both average and power, plus his base-running and fielding excellence. His consistency over his nine years in the Major Leagues has earned him the reputation as the best player in the game today. In spite of his accomplishments, Pujols has said he doesn’t play solely for the numbers.
“I don’t play for numbers. I play first of all to glorify God and to accomplish in this game what everybody wants to accomplish, which is getting to the World Series and coming up with a win at the end. Those are the things that I really try to focus on and try to make sure that I do every day for the rest of my career.”
Today’s honorable mention might have been the number 1 athlete if we lived in a different country. Ronaldinho is a Brazilian footballer who plays for Italian Serie A side Milan and the Brazil national team. He is widely regarded as one of the most gifted footballers of his generation. After winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, he went on to accumulate a Champions League winners medal and two Spanish league titles, while being named World Footballer of the Year in 2005 and 2006. Job well-done….