Is Albert Pujols Lying About His Age?
Pujols Signing With Angels
Update: Now that Albert Pujols will sign with the California Angels in a 10 year, $254 million deal, I must say as a Cardinals fan I'm not terribly surprised, and a bit relieved to see that he is going to the American League.
But the question that remains is, how old will Albert Pujols be when he retires? We may never know.
How Old is Albert Pujols?
Now that Albert Pujols has entered free agency, other cities and teams are confronting head on the rumor that has been whispered in baseball circles in St. Louis and across the Major Leagues: Is Albert Pujols lying about his age? How old is Albert Pujols?
Albert Pujols is one of the best players to ever play the game. He is known for his consistency. At a time when young upstarts may steal the top spot in a certain category from year to year, Albert is always in the top ranks, every year. He may not grab the top spot in homers or RBIs every year, but every year, he is ranking.
Even if you doubt whether he is the greatest player ever, you would almost be a fool to argue that he's not the best player of the last decade.
Why Would Pujols Lie About His Age?
First of all, we have to point out that there is no evidence that Albert has lied about his age, only speculation. In fact, he became a naturalized citizen in 2007, scoring perfectly on his citizenship test. Whatever documents he had were apparently good enough for the US government.
There are many reasons why people would think Albert is lying about his age. For someone in his early thirties, he looks much older. Plus, he has lost much of his hair, which isn't helping things. While these may not seem out of place for someone for someone in their early thirties, he has looked this way for quite a few years, since almost his mid twenties.
Besides the obvious physical reasons, Albert's heritage also plays a role. Coming from the Dominican Republic, he is from a part of the world that is obsessed with baseball greatness, and a place that is known to have parents who will lie about the age of their child to gain an edge.
Also, the strongest reason to accuse Albert of lying is jealousy and a desire to taint a man who has thus far only proven to be almost a saint. He survived the steroid era, and yes, he was assumed by some to among the roidheads, but when the Mitchell Report came out, he was not named.
Accusing him of lying about his age could be a way to accuse him of something that is plausible in an effort to taint his legacy.
Even if Pujols is older than he says he is, we may never know if he lied, or his parents lied to him. And at this stage in his career, really the only people who should be worried are those who have to decide if he's worth $250 million and a ten year contract.
I must admit that about 8 years ago, I had a friend tell me that he heard from Whitey Herzog, the legendary former Cardinals manager, that Albert is older than he says he is. He met Whitey on a charity or celebrity fishing trip, and said that Herzog claimed to have a grandson or son who played with him in high school and knew him to be older. I may be botching some of the details, but the gist of the story was that Whitey got drunk and was adamant that Pujols was not the age he claimed to be.
If I found out tomorrow that Pujols had been lying about his age, I would not be surprised, but rather, a bit let down. Albert is a great role model for sports at a time when so many athletes are scumbags, criminals and cheaters. While lying about his age may have allowed him to gain an edge at an early age, it is not a performance enhancer or a form of cheating at baseball.
Albert has done so many great things, both on and off the field. I can not recall a professional athlete who has dedicated so much of his life to charity, whether it is the Pujols Foundation for special needs children, or his charity to help the poor in his native country. If Albert Pujols is lying about his age, that would be an action that does not comport with the man of God that he proclaims to be.
When it comes to Albert Pujols, two things are undeniable: his talent and his human spirit.
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