Where does Albert Pujols rank on the all-time Cardinals list of best players in franchise history?  Keep reading, and I’ll tell you what I think. You tell me how you took it.

Pujols took another leap forward for man and womankind, St. Louis Cardinals fans. In the new Busch Stadium, he came, saw and conquered another milestone last Friday night before the disgruntled faces of beleaguered Chicago Cubs and their faithful.

By a 9-2 score, the long-suffering lovable losers from the North Side of “The Chi (shy)” took it on the chin again, courtesy of the popping bats of Pujols and the Redbirds. The crushing victory was the icing on the cake for the current baseball king of the city.

According to the Redbirds’ broadcasters, Pujols became the latest Saint Louis Cardinal to reach 2,000 hits—while wearing the historically significant St. Louis Cardinals uniform. Only certain individuals get to wear the birds on the bat, and Pujols knows it.

Hall of Fame ballers Rogers Hornsby, Stan “The Man” Musial, Rogers Hornsby and Lou Brock all wore it for most—if not all—of their MLB careers. They have their own statuettes outside of the new stadium, and Pujols knows it.

He sports the classic uniform—one of the most recognizable in all of the world’s sports—with the pride and class it deserves, and once again proved to be a much better hitter than his current batting coach.


Pujols could someday be—without question—the best St. Louis Cardinals player ever.  If he isn’t already, that is. He’s not done, yet, though, most folks in the STL hope. There could be another World Series, or hopefully more, under his helmet.

It seems to me like Albert just added about as much pressure as can be to the Cardinals’ front office to keep him. They almost have to re-sign him now, right?  We’ll see. Judging by moves in the last two years, there is no telling what the brass is planning to pull off.

Stay tuned to the Laker, and I’ll let you all know, my beloved readers, what’s really going on after the season in terms of Pujols—the former baseball prince of the city. He’s quickly becoming one of the eight wonders of MLB history.

For his 2,000th career smash off against pitching in the Majors, on Friday night of the eighth inning with two outs, Albert smashed a peppery steak (RBI) double down the third base line—making the scoreboard bling for the Redbirds against the lowly Cubs. 

What was most impressive was the way Pujols sped around the bases as if it was the bottom of the ninth inning in the seventh game of the World Series—like he was carrying the championship-winning run. It’s called hustling in the Gashouse Gang tradition.

You Cubs fans wouldn’t know anything about that, I don’t imagine. Imagine this, though, as much as the Redbirds and Cardinals face one another, Pujols could end up getting his hit No. 3,000 against Chicago…this season…double ouch.

After No 2,000, I felt like the Cardinals had the painful for the traveling pack of fanatics from Illinois game in hand, and Pujols could’ve been taken out of the game. While the fans showered him with blessings, he looked like he wanted to shed tears of thanksgiving. Take him out for a pinch-runner, why didn’t the manager? 

Who knows?

The classy Cardinal he is, Pujols twice tipped his helmet, while standing at second base. It looked like LaRussa pulled a classy move, though, and ordered the next batter to step out of the batter’s box, so the fans could salute Albert even more.

How do you like it in Saint Louis? You all love it. We (MLB fans) love it. Pujols the great Redbird grinder did it with his left wrist in what looks like a cast. Ouch.

The leading man in this cast of Redbirds characters, he’s starring in an almost Hollywood career full of flavor. Lights, cameras and action to the tune of 3,000 hits could be the next feature film Pujols produces in a Cardinals uniform. 

What a shame it would be if this doesn’t happen. First Ryan Ludwick gets traded and the team’s title hopes head south for the winter 2010. Then Colby Rasmus gets run in 2011 and the Redbirds immediately loose two demoralizing games at home to lowly Houston

Albert’s milestone could be the spark the Redbirds need to get them going. Then Albert is allowed to walk after the season? No way, right? You tell me, I’m not a participating party.

I’m telling the world that it’s probably a party in Saint Louis for right now. I have a feeling Albert’s teammates know this could very well be his last go around in the circle of St. Louis as a Redbird. 

What a crying Cardinal shame it would truly be.

Enjoy the ride, though, with about two full months left in the season, Albert could have close to 100 more hits left in him in 2011. If that happens, then it could mean a deep playoff run for the Redbirds. Lou Brock and the rest of the living Cardinals greats will be watching.

This has been the almost great Lake Cruise reporting live from the banks of the Mississippi River close to Pierre Laclede’s Landing. Right now, as I write, Pujols is landing at about A-1 on the list of all-time best Cardinals. But that’s just me. 

 What do you think, my beloved? Meanwhile, catch me next time on the latest edition of Lake’s Pujols Papers. I’m out.

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