Don’t look for Albert at South Beach

The last time I counted, there were 39 players and/or managers in the Hall of Fame who spent at least part of their career in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. Of that group, only two - Stan Musial and Bob Gibson - played for no other team during their careers.

I’m thinking that five years after he retires, Albert Pujols will join those two to make a trio.

When push comes to shove, I just can’t imagine that Pujols will do anything to damage his legacy in St. Louis. Flirting with other teams this offseason is one thing, but I’ve never really thought he’d bail on the Redbirds.

Having said all that, it’s madness to sign a guy who turns 32 in January to a 10-year contract. Maybe Albert’s ever-so-slight drop in offensive production in 2011 - his OPS was the lowest of his career at .906 - is an aberration, an off-year. But it’s possible that he’s as susceptible to the normal aging process as any other athlete. He’s clearly among the greatest hitters who have ever played the game, and surely the Cardinals know that the last three years of this deal may be more of a golden parachute for Pujols.

No matter.

The thought of Pujols in a Marlins, or Cubs, uniform is rather unseemly, to my way of thinking. However many more dollars he might earn outside of St. Louis will have zero impact on his lifestyle, and likely the lifestyles of the next several generations of Pujolses.

Pujols’ decision is expected today. Don’t look for any big discounts on Pujols replica jerseys anytime soon.