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Pujols’ historic 36-36

Albert Pujols already has more 36 doubles-36 home run seasons than anyone in MLB history.

Albert Pujols' 400th home run, 08/26/10 (Getty Images/Greg Fiume)What sore elbow?

Despite an anti-inflammatory shot intended to diminish pain in his left elbow that caused him to miss one game earlier this week, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols continues to put on a power demonstration – whether the balls leave the park or not.

The most obvious measure is home runs, but doubles are important, too.

With two-base hits in Games 1 and 2 of the San Diego series on Thursday and Friday nights, Pujols collected his 35th and 36th doubles of the season. He is currently tied for eighth in the NL in that department, with teammate Matt Holliday third with 42.

Though he hasn’t hit any home runs since launching two last Sunday, September 12 against Atlanta, Pujols’ 39 still leads the National League by four over his nearest competitor, Washington’s Adam Dunn. Albert also was first in the NL in long balls in 2009 with 47.

Put the two together, and 2010 has become Pujols’ seventh 36-36 season in his ten-year career, including each of the last three years. No one else in the history of the game has more than five. In fact, no other player has even six such seasons.

36 doubles and 36 home runs, season, MLB, 1920-current

Yrs From To Age
Albert Pujols 7 2001 2010 21-30
Albert Belle 5 1993 1999 26-32
Lou Gehrig 5 1927 1937 24-34
Alfonso Soriano 4 2002 2006 26-30
Vladimir Guerrero 4 1998 2004 23-29
Carlos Delgado 4 1998 2003 26-31
Babe Ruth 4 1920 1924 25-29
Manny Ramirez 3 2003 2008 31-36
Jeff Bagwell 3 1997 2001 29-33
Rafael Palmeiro 3 1993 1998 28-33
Hank Greenberg 3 1935 1940 24-29
Chuck Klein 3 1929 1932 24-27
Rogers Hornsby 3 1922 1929 26-33

The table that follows illustrates Pujols’ consistency over the years. He has led the league in doubles once previously. Seasons in bold indicate his 36-36 years.

Albert Pujols, doubles and home runs by season

2001 47 37
2002 40 34
2003 51L 43
2004 51 46
2005 38 41
2006 33 49
2007 38 32
2008 44 37
2009 45 47L
2010 YTD 36 39L
L=led league

The bottom line is that every time Pujols takes the field, he enhances his Hall of Fame credentials.

Thanks to researcher Tom Orf for providing the first table above.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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