Thursday, December 27, 2007

Immigrant of the Day: Albert Pujols (Dominican Republic)

Pujols_facing José Alberto Pujols Alcántara (born January 16, 1980, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is the first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. Widely regarded as one of the best players in Major League Baseball game today, with Golden Glove and MVP awards, and a World Series victory, to his credit, Pujols and his family immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s.  They first settled in New York City and later moved to Independence, Missouri.

Pujols gained his love for baseball in the United States.  He batted over .500 in his first season of baseball at Fort Osage High School. He went on to attend Maple Woods Community College in the Kansas City area. Pujols hit a grand slam and turning an unassisted triple play in his first game. He batted .461 for the year.

Few big league teams were interested in Pujols. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Pujols in the 13th round of the 1999 draft, the 402nd overall pick. In 1999, Pujols played for the Peoria Chiefs of the single-A Midwest League and he was voted league MVP. Pujols quickly progressed through the ranks of the St. Louis farm clubs, first at the Potomac Cannons in the high-A Carolina League and then with the Memphis Redbirds in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. In just seven games with the Redbirds in 2000, Pujols batted .367 with two home runs.

Pujols is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

For the Albert Pujols fansite, click here.


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