10/29/2003 4:13 PM ET
Pujols, Renteria win Silver Sluggers
ST. LOUIS -- It's a good thing for Albert Pujols that he's about to get a big raise. He's going to need to buy another house to store all the awards he's winning.
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
Pujols and Edgar Renteria received Silver Slugger awards Wednesday, recognizing them as the National League's best offensive players at their positions. It was Pujols' second Silver Slugger and Renteria's third. Renteria won for the second consecutive year.
A leading candidate for National League MVP honors, Pujols was honored along with fellow outfielders Barry Bonds of the Giants and Gary Sheffield of the Braves. Coincidentally, those two players are considered the other two favorites for MVP.
"It's only three or four years since we first saw him play," Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said recently, "and he has grown so much as not only a ballplayer but as a man. It's just kind of neat to see a guy who really understands and grasps the game, and loves the game, and keeps trying to get better. What he has accomplished is through a lot of hard work on his part. You've got to admire that. There are very few guys like that."
Pujols, who also won the award in his rookie season of 2001, brought home his first batting title this year with a .359 average, as well as a .439 on-base percentage and .667 slugging percentage. He rapped 43 homers and 51 doubles, drove in 124 runs and scored 137 times. He tied Ralph Kiner for the most home runs by any player in his first three Major League seasons with 114.
Earlier this month, Pujols was named The Sporting News' Major League Player of the Year. He received the Hank Aaron Award, recognizing the top offensive player in his league, during the World Series.
Renteria had a historic season of his own, and in fact is expected to garner some bottom-of-the-ballot MVP votes. He hit .330 with a .394 OBP and slugged .480, and his 100 RBIs made him the first NL shortstop with triple figures in that category since Montreal's Hubie Brooks in 1985. He stole 34 bases in 41 tries, scored 96 runs and smacked 47 doubles.
The awards are voted on by Major League managers and coaches. It was the second year in a row that two Cardinals won Silver Sluggers. Last year Scott Rolen was honored along with Renteria.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.