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June 12, 2006
Prince Albert
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June 12, 2006


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Prince Albert

With his ongoing excellence and clean reputation, no player is as important to baseball as Albert Pujols. If drug allegations were raised against Pujols, the sport would be shaken to its very foundations. Whom could fans then look up to without suspicion? Until his injury, Pujols seemed on his way to another MVP award and the Triple Crown. May he return quickly.
Brance Wilson, Lockney, Texas

You don't need to hype Albert Pujols as the next home run king to get our attention (A Swing of Beauty, May 22). Pure baseball fans aren't obsessed with home runs; we're more impressed with players who lead by example, who respect the game, hit for average, drive in runs and make great defensive plays. Pujols does all of that. Before you tout him as the next Sultan of Swat, at least wait until he has 50 home runs--at the All-Star break.
Chad Sypkens, Hillside, Ill.

First, you called Barry Bonds and others immoral if they took steroids to improve their game. Then you declare on the cover, ALL HAIL THE NEXT HOME RUN KING, referring to Pujols. Isn't this adulation the very reason that players inject: because we will always hail the next home run king?
Shane Sanders, Manhattan, Kans.

I highlighted frames seven through 12 from David E. Klutho's sequence of photographs of Pujols's swing to help teach the nine-year-olds I coach here at Canada's Baseball Hall of Fame. Those frames show Pujols's eyes completely focused on the point of contact. This brilliant illustration has my team members trying to swing the way baseball's most prolific hitter does. Now if I could just get them to quit running like hockey players.
Tom Valcke, President and CEO
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, St. Mary's, Ont.

Not so fast in proclaiming Albert Pujols the "greatest all-around hitter since Ted Williams." While the stats Pujols has accumulated during his first five years are impressive, they're not significantly different from those Frank Thomas racked up over his first seven full seasons. According to their 162-game averages--to take into account the games that Thomas lost because of the 1994 lockout--Pujols had 41 home runs, 127 RBIs and hit .332, while Thomas had 40 homers, 131 RBIs and a .330 average.
Chuck Hadden, Arlington, Va.

The Incidental Asterisk

I found it interesting that in your chart of career home runs (Fast-forward, May 22), Barry Bonds's total was marked by an asterisk. Never mind that it was there only to note that the figures included home runs through May 14; it was still nice to see an asterisk by Bonds's numbers and none next to the totals of Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. If that's how it should look later, why not start now?
Austin Hughes, Atwater, Calif.

I took note of the asterisk on your May 15 Bonds cover. You couldn't have known it when you went to press, but a cover headline on the May 22 issue also begged for an asterisk: JUSTIN GATLIN: FASTEST MAN ON THE PLANET*. (*Actually only tied the 100-meter world record.)
Eric Maddy, Huntington Beach, Calif.

A Gentleman and a Boxer

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