The Cardinals first baseman was named the Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week on Monday in what could be the first of many honors on the horizon. Pujols batted .588 (10-for-17) in the final week, with home runs in three straight games and 10 RBIs.
Perhaps Pujols' final push will propel him to a second MVP Award. He finished the season with a .357 average, 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 148 games. He also set a career high with 104 walks.
"This is one of his great years," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "Look at the walks, runs scored. He is really a great player. We're lucky to watch him. I know all of us in uniform understand that. I think most of you [in the media] do. I think most of our fans do. Everybody should understand it."
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is his main competition for the MVP Award. Howard, who beat out Pujols for the 2006 award, led the Majors with 48 homers and 146 RBIs this season, but he hit just .251. Howard kept pace by batting .368 with two homers over the course of last week.
But there was no matching the seven-time All-Star Pujols, who nabbed his second Player of the Week honor this season and the eighth of his career. He posted back-to-back three-hit games Thursday against Arizona and Friday against Cincinnati. He homered Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Pujols finished the season seven points behind Atlanta's Chipper Jones for the NL batting title.
Behind their slugger, the Cardinals won their final six games to finish 86-76, placing them in fourth place in the tough NL Central.
Other nominees for Player of the Week included Pujols' teammates Troy Glaus (.364, two home runs, six RBIs), Cesar Izturis (.500, 11 hits, five RBIs) and Felipe Lopez (.548, one homer, 7 RBIs).
For his efforts, Pujols will receive an engraved Swiss timepiece from Tourneau.
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less