“I’m not a machine, I’m Albert.”
That’s how the classic This is Sportscenter commercial goes for Albert Pujols, staring out of mechanical eyes like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, implying that the baseball titan is so good he’s not human.
It also illustrates another point: Pujols is machine-like in pressure situations, because his emotions and the pressure never stop him from performing at a high level.
Before signing with the Angels (and getting swept out in three games in the 2014 playoffs), Pujols played in 74 playoff games for the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting 18 home runs with 54 RBI and a .330 batting average while helping the Cards bring home two World Series titles. Even more impressive: Pujols only struck out 39 times in those games.
So yeah, this guy knows how to hit when it counts the most.
Take his run in the 2011 World Series, for example. Pujols batted .353 with an astonishing .691 slugging percentage, punctuated by his performance in Game 3 against the Texas Rangers, one of the most herculean efforts in baseball history. Pujols slugged three home runs, drove in 6 RBIs, and scored four runs, making him the third player along with legends Babe Ruth and Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson to have three homers in a World Series game (Pablo Sandoval joined the club the following season).
He’s not a machine, he’s just Albert.