Ichiro, Albert Pujols dominated 2001 rookies | MLB.com – MLB.com

This combination of unexpected excellence leading to expected accolades harkens back to 2001, when Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki emerged on the big league scene. Like Bellinger and Judge, the duo unpredictably pushed their teams to the postseason, with Ichiro joining Fred Lynn as the only rookies to win the ROY and Most Valuable Player awards. (Judge, an AL MVP Award finalist, could become the third.)

Ichiro wins ROY, MVP in 2001

A look back at Ichiro’s historic 2001 rookie season

Ichiro Suzuki won the American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Award in his historic 2001 season with the Mariners

“People were skeptical of Ichiro coming to play over here,” said then-Mariners general manager Pat Gillick, who signed Ichiro. “And the fact that Pujols has gone on for so many years? If anybody can forecast that, they’re better than I am.”

We couldn’t forecast it, but we can look back on it. Here are the stories of 2001’s rousing rookies.

Albert’s arrival

The Cardinals selected Pujols with the 402nd pick of the 1999 Draft, and that’s still an amazing sentence to type. Two hundred and ninety of the players who went before him never played a game in the Majors. Every team passed multiple times on the power-hitting shortstop from Maple Woods Community College (Mo.), the kid who hadn’t been drafted after high school.

St. Louis finally picked Pujols and gave him a $30,000 signing bonus, with another $30,000 promised for his college tuition, should baseball not work out.

Spoiler alert: It worked out. But even when Pujols was on the verge of his 2001 breakout, the Cardinals had no idea the full extent of what they had. Coming off a 95-win season in which they fell just short of the World Series, the

Read More Here...

This entry was posted in Baseball News. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.