Albert Pujols: Must Be The Money, or Not


December 9, 2011

By now, you’ve heard the big news… Albert Pujols is leaving the St. Louis Cardinals.

As a life-long, card carrying Cardinal Nation fan, I have some skin in the game.  After all, I pay big bucks every year to go see Albert.  Not only that, I have to shell out for the Pujols merchandise so my kids will be happy and show their support for one of their all-time baseball heroes.

There will be many St. Louisans and others who will weigh in on why he’s leaving and whether or not it’s good, bad or if we should even care.  The talk radio shows last night on my drive home were all a-twitter with callers who are far more passionate about this “disastrous turn of events”.  But is it really all that bad?  And, maybe more importantly, did our baseball God and hero to numerous St. Louis charities really do it for the money?

No one really knows except the big man himself, but as a HR pro I tend to think he did not do it just for the money.  We all know people rarely leave a job just because of the cold, hard cash.  That may be a big draw, but there has to be more.  Let’s look at the facts:

  • Worked for the same organization for 11 years
  • Had the same boss for those years and that boss just retired
  • Played on a team that won multiple World Series while he was on the team
  • Three-time National League MVP
  • Ten-time All Star
  • Won two Gold Glove Awards
  • Won six Silver Sluggers
  • Won the Roberto Clemente Award
  • His kids are still young

If I were to fill in any other type of job into those facts, I can easily see why someone would be ready to move on.  Maybe he’s ready for a new challenge.  After all, what in the world could he do in St. Louis that he hasn’t already accomplished?  And, he’ll have a new boss either way, so there is no loyalty to stay here.  Kids sometimes get in the way of a big move, especially if they are teens, but Albert’s kiddos are still little and in elementary school.

If I were in his shoes, there is no BETTER time than now to make a move.  And, throw in the dough to sweeten the deal and I’m all yours.

So, in the end, baseball players really aren’t that different than all of us.  Many factors lead to reasons people leave an organization.  We’ll miss you Albert, but we all know everyone is replaceable.  Let’s just hope you don’t mind having crazy Rally Monkeys…oh wait, this coming from a city with Rally Squirrels….move along my friend…


  • I am more bothered by the fact he said for years and years that he wanted to “retire as a Cardinal” and “it’s not about the money”.

    Human nature is to take more money.

    I just feel that there was a bit of phoniness when it came to this. I wish I could have your positive attitude about this.

    For a more scathing assessment, go to:

  • I am no baseball fan, but I love football and basketball. Charles Barkley said something years ago that has been true almost all the time when it comes to resigning and free agents. He said whenever you allow your star to enter free agency, they will leave.

    I think Albert wanted to stay but I think he was a little hurt that the Cards, didn’t show the same excitement, passion and respect for him as other teams. Really like you said, we see it all the time, employee wants a raise or new contract, the company holds out or says no, employee feels disrespected and bounces.

    The game doesn’t change, only the players.

  • Chris- you do bring up a good point. Yes, the Cardinals didn’t wrap up the Pujols contract before the Spring Training. While I called out Pujols, I also lay blame on the Cardinals management, as they probably could have wrapped this up before the beginning of the season last year. My criticism would not have been quite as scathing if he hadn’t said “I want to retire as a Cardinal” and “it’s not about the money”.

    I do find it odd that nobody threw Albert’s quote of “no hometown discount” (from a few years back) up in Albert’s face.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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