José Alberto Pujols Alcántara was born January 16, 1980.
Pujols was born in the Dominican Republic. Growing up poor, Pujols practiced baseball using limes for balls and a milk carton for a glove.
In 1996, his family immigrated to the United States. They would eventually settle in Missouri, where Pujols would star in high school. In his senior year, he was walked 55 times, partly because coaches protested believing he was older than 18, according to Wikipedia. In just 33 official at-bats he hit 8 home runs. Pujols would go on to play at a community college. As a freshman he batted .461 with 22 home runs before deciding to enter the MLB draft.
Several teams overlooked Pujols, who was not selected until the 13th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2000 in the minors, he batted .324 with 128 hits, 32 doubles, six triples, 17 home runs, and 84 RBIs in 109 games. Mark McGwire told manager Tony LaRussa of the Cardinals if he didn't put Pujols on the 2001 opening day roster, "It might be one of the worst moves you make in your career." It turns out it was one of the best moves of his career.
Just four days after his first career game, Pujols connected on his first major league home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Check it out here:
Pujols would smash baseball records in his time with St. Louis and become one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. In his 10 years there he would help the team win two World Series rings and win the NL MVP three times (He's won so many awards it would take you all day to read them all). He hit 445 home runs and only hit below .300 one season, his final in St. Louis where he hit .299.
in 2012, he signed a 10-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim worth around $254 million. While he hasn't replicated his numbers in St. Louis, Pujols is still one of the most feared and intimidating hitters in the game. His 520 home runs ranks 21st all time.
There's more to Albert than home runs and baseball. As "60 Minutes" showed, he's done a lot for his home country:
Happy 35th Birthday, Albert Pujols.