Sometimes, you just have to sit back and realize what you are witnessing. While I make this reference in terms of sporting achievements, it’s probably good advice in general.
I bring this up, because we just did a story in SCD regarding Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – you know, the all-time leading scorer in NBA history. I remember watching him play later in his career, and compared to Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, he didn’t seem that special at all. He just seemed weird with his long, skinny legs and those goggles on his balding head. At no point did I consider him to be one of the best of all time.
When you thought of big-time dominating centers, I would think of Russell and Chamberlain. And then I’d add O’Neal. A prolonged career of success sometimes passes you by without any real fanfare.
This happens a lot, too, with today’s current baseball players. In particular, I’m talking about Albert Pujols for the 2009 season. My goodness, he’s putting up Ruth and Gehrig numbers. When you look at the stats of those guys, it almost seemed like video games numbers.
And Pujols numbers through the first half of the season (the true first half, 81 games) is astounding. Pujols is batting .336 with 31 HRs and 82 RBI. Double those numbers, and it’s 62 HRs and 164 RBIs. That’s impressive, considering that soon he’s going to get the Barry Bonds’ treatment – walked every time he comes to the plate.
He’s making his eighth All-Star game next week and he has never hit less than 32 home runs in his career. Plus he has 10 stolen bases this year already, poised for a career high in that category.
With Ken Griffey Jr., you also knew you were watching something special. Among the best ever, some folks only know his for his injuries in the second half of his career. that’s too bad, because he’s one of the best ever.
Pujols is there, too. No one has had the career start that he has and his numbers are amazing. We are watching one of the best ever and it’s happening right under our noses. His career could end now and he get considered for the HOF.
So take time to watch him play. With the St. Louis Cardinals in first place, there are bound to get more TV time as the season moves on. And Pujols will be the star attraction.