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Albert Pujols, closing in on 500 homers, showed greatness at early age
Albert Pujols, closing in on 500 homers, showed greatness at early age

DETROIT — Mark McGwire was in the twilight of his career in 2001, willing his broken-down body through one final season with the St. Louis Cardinals, when a strapping young buck named Albert Pujols, just two years removed from being the 402nd overall pick in the draft, started tearing it up in spring training. Bobby Bonilla was slated to be the Cardinals' left fielder, but when Bonilla was hurt that spring, McGwire practically commandeered the lineup card from Manager Tony La Russa. "I said to him, 'If this guy doesn't make the team, it might be one of the biggest mistakes you make in your managerial career,' " McGwire, now the Dodgers' hitting...

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