ACKERMAN: A Quick Pujols Story

This is one of the moments I remember best about Pujols, much more so than even his famous home runs.

Tom Ackerman
May 11, 2018 - 1:10 pm
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols waits to bat against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis

(Photo by Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT/Sipa USA)


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - I was on my way to San Diego to cover the St. Louis Cardinals' playoff workout before Game 3 of the 2005 NLDS, but my flight was delayed.  This was not good, especially since I needed a featured interview to run during my special from the booth that night.

As the minutes ticked away, I knew I was cutting it extremely close, and by the time I touched ground at the airport I was on the move.  I jumped into a cab and asked to go to Petco Park.  The cab driver hesitated.  I told him "where the Padres play" and that I needed to get there ASAP.  He smiled and moved at his own pace.

When I finally arrived at Petco, I was able to get credentialed and into the ballpark.  But once I reached the visitors' clubhouse, dread began to set in.

The workout had long been over.  The Cardinals were gone.

I sighed, took one last look around and headed to the door... before I heard a familiar voice over my right shoulder: "Where have you been?"

It was Albert Pujols.

I proceeded to explain that my flight was delayed, that I scrambled to the ballpark to get here in time, etc... he listened and nodded.  He just wanted to help.

Needless to say, I got that interview.  KMOX was happy to hear it.

This is one of the moments I remember best about Pujols, much more so than even his famous home runs ... except for maybe that ruthless bomb he hit 10 days later off Brad Lidge (October 17, 2005) that hasn't landed yet.  Or the one he destroyed off Kerry Wood (July 4, 2003) immediately after the Cubs pitcher knocked him down at Wrigley. 

Generally, no one cares how the media is treated.  But people do want to know how players "really are" behind the scenes.  And in spite of what you might have heard from some reporters while a certain player was enjoying one of his greatest baseball achievements – 3,000 hits – (looking at you, Jeff Pearlman), Albert Pujols reached out to me instead of turning the other way.  That's a first-hand account.  It said all I needed to know about his integrity and character.

Also, he's the best hitter I've ever seen in person.

Carry on.  :)