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Pujols takes his first crack at Cardinals

7/2/2013

Harry How/Getty Images

Albert Pujols faces the Cardinals for first time in his career on Tuesday.Albert Pujols' tenure in St. Louis was arguably the most productive start to a career in history. His 445 home runs, 1,329 RBI and 3,893 total bases all set new standards for a player’s first 11 seasons in the league.

On Tuesday, Pujols faces the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time since leaving via free agency following the 2011 season.

Albert Pujols
Cardinals Ranks

He’s second in franchise history in nearly every power hitting category, from home runs to slugging percentage.

But Pujols hasn’t quite been the same hitter with the Los Angeles Angels. In fact, he’s been less productive than the Cardinals who have replaced him.

Since the start of 2012, Cardinals first basemen have combined for an .826 OPS, while Pujols has had an uncharacteristically low .822 OPS. The 173 combined RBI at first base for the Cardinals is the most for any team in the majors over the past two seasons.

Albert Pujols
MLB Career

Perhaps the bigger drama will come when Pujols returns to play in front of the fans in St. Louis, but Tuesday won’t be without drama when he takes the field against his old club.

Here’s a look at some of the most memorable performances in which a star player faced his former team for the first time.

Willie Mays (Mets) versus Giants -- May 14, 1972

After 2,857 games with the Giants, Mays finally suited up for another team -- and played against the Giants. His first hit for the Mets was a go-ahead solo home run in the fifth inning.

Tom Seaver (Reds) at Mets -- Aug. 21, 1977

Seaver received a hero’s welcome with three separate standing ovations from the Shea Stadium crowd. He struck out 11 while allowing one run in a complete-game, 5-1 win. “It’s hard to put into words how much this game meant to me,” Seaver said.

Roger Clemens (Blue Jays) at Red Sox -- July 12, 1997

Back in Boston for the first time, Clemens struck out a Blue Jays franchise-record 16 Red Sox over eight innings in a 3-1 win. Improving to 14-3 on the season, Clemens walked off the mound glaring at Red Sox GM Dan Duquette, who had previously said Clemens was “in the twilight of his career.”

Frank Thomas (A’s) at White Sox -- May 22, 2006

After 16 years with Chicago, Thomas quickly provided a reminder of what he could do. After a standing ovation, the Big Hurt went 3-for-5 with two home runs, his first multi-home run game in almost two years.

Pedro Martinez (Mets) at Red Sox -- June 28, 2006

Pedro wasn’t as successful as Clemens in his first game back against the Red Sox. He received a warm greeting from the Fenway faithful, but didn’t provide a performance to match. Martinez lasted three innings and allowed eight runs, while striking out only one.