Respect

Albert Pujols received an all-time ovation in his first trip back to St. Louis on Friday night

June 22, 2019
Albert Pujols
Dilip Vishwanat

St. Louis Cardinals fans are notorious for telling other fans what great baseball fans they are. On Friday night at Busch Stadium, they may have proved their point.

Instead of telling everybody how great they are, the St. Louis fans showed it, giving Albert Pujols one of the all-time greatest standing ovations in his first trip back to Busch Stadium as a Los Angeles Angel. That may have come as a bit of a surprise to some, as Pujols has been in L.A. since 2013. But the Angels have only played a pair of series against the Cardinals during Pujols time there, and both series, one in 2013 and one in 2016, took place in L.A. This was L.A.'s first game at Busch since May of 2010, a year Pujols finished second in the MVP voting as a Cardinal. St. Louis fans have been waiting a long time to pay their respects to the franchise legend, and it showed before his first at-bat Friday night:

File that one in the "chills" department. Pujols, who went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk in a 5-1 loss, spent 11 years in St. Louis, putting together one of the greatest decade-plus stretches the sport has ever seen. He won three MVPs (something only eight other players have done), a Rookie of the Year award, six Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, two World Series rings, and a NLCS MVP (2004) as a Cardinal. In total, Pujols smacked 445 homers, collected 1,329 RBIs and 2,073 hits while wearing St. Louis jersey. Is that good?

"Just pretty amazing," Pujols said of the ovation. "That'll show you why they are the best fans in baseball. I'm just glad to be able to play here for 11 years, have the great memories."

There are almost too many memories to count for No. 5, starting with one of the most legendary playoff homers in baseball history.

That ball still has not landed. Neither have any of the three homers he hit in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series:

Those are just two of the incredible moments Pujols produced as a Red Bird. There are hundreds of others, which is why he is so beloved in St. Louis and why he'll always be remembered as a Cardinal.

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