With MLB Network’s countdown of the Top 100 players in all of baseball complete, we can now look forward to the start of the 2023 season.
This has been a tradition for MLB Network ever since 2011.
Each year since then, they have counted down who they believe are the Top 100 players in the game.
But long ago, a certain somebody took the No. 1 spot for the first time.
This star played 12 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and won three National League MVP Awards.
He also helped lead the team to three National League pennants and two World Series titles.
Who else? The first #1 in #Top100RightNow history was Albert Pujols! https://t.co/bkhJqN39pl pic.twitter.com/5aLUV5WpT4
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 24, 2023
Many years ago, it was Pujols who stood where Shohei Ohtani currently does.
This year, Ohtani was given the top spot out of 100.
But in 2011, Ohtani was nowhere to be found.
At the time, Pujols was the best player in the game.
He had been the best player in all of baseball since his arrival in the big leagues back in 2001.
That year, he won the Rookie of the Year Award.
But during his first stint in St. Louis, Pujols was simply on another level.
Pitching to him with the game on the line was widely considered to be a fool’s errand.
If a pitcher made a mistake, Pujols would make him pay.
He was also a proven clutch performer in the postseason.
He earned NLCS MVP honors in 2004 and hit a dramatic home run off of Brad Lidge in 2005 to help the team stave off elimination.
But most importantly, he was the centerpiece of two World Series championship teams.NEXT: The Cardinals Are In An Enviable Position With 2 Stars