Continuing The Opening Night Countdown: 5

It’s the final day of March, with 5 days now until the regular season begins for the Cardinals on Sunday night.

The No. 5 brings only one person to mind, of course.

Philadelphia Phillies v St Louis Cardinals - Game 4

Yes, Albert Pujols, or That Guy Who Used to Play First Base. Although now, going into his fourth season with the Los Angeles, California, Angels of Anaheim in Orange County, USA, the bad feelings over his departure have waned (for me at least). And I’m still glad, as I was at the time, that John Mozeliak didn’t sign him to a ridiculously expensive contract.

Albert’s best years were as a Cardinal, as he was a three-time National League MVP during his 11 seasons and compiled numbers of .328/.420/.617. Plus he gave us some incredible memories in the postseason.

5-5

Such as in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS against the Astros …

2011 World Series Game 3 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

or in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series against the Rangers. (Maybe he really likes playing in the state of Texas?) Though he did hit some rather dramatic homers at Busch Stadium also …

5

Yes, that weekend of back-to-back walk-offs over the Cubs in June 2011 was pretty special also. (And check out whatever weird WordPress gremlin has made Albert the masthead of this post about that Saturday walk-off game. Anyway, the quote from Jeff Samardzija from that day is great — I still remember seeing his reaction. Also, remember Ryan Theriot’s hitting streak? OK, a better question might be remember Ryan Theriot as a Cardinal?)

Ah, Albert, those were the days … as were these.

5-1

(Total aside, but I love this photo of David Eckstein — not only does he look like the kid brother tagging along to the All-Star Game, but why does he have a black belt on when the other three have red?)

Yes, Albert was one of the cornerstones of the team’s success from 2001-2011, as he continually amazed us year after year, and he’ll no doubt be headed to the Hall of Fame one day after his Angels career has ended. Which certainly means that No. 5 will one day grace the outfield wall with the rest of the retired numbers.

For now, though, just 5 more days!

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