Born in Bridgeton, Missouri, Josh Fleming grew up a massive St. Louis Cardinals fan, so naturally, growing up in the early-to-mid 2000s, Albert Pujols was the man in St. Louis.
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His 11-year career with the Cardinals included nine All-Star Game appearances, three MVP awards, the 2001 National League Rookie of the Year, six Silver Slugger awards, one Gold Glove award, two World Series titles, and a slash line of .328/.420/.617 with 2,073 hits, 445 home runs and a 170 OPS+.
You don’t need the statistics though to say that Albert Pujols was one of the best players in St. Louis Cardinals history, and Josh Fleming got to see the prime of his career as a young baseball fan.
The two shared a photo on the field before Tuesday’s game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, with the hope the two would face-off on Thursday as Josh Fleming was scheduled as the bulk starter behind Collin McHugh.
Unfortunately, on Thursday afternoon, it was reported that the Los Angeles Angels designated Albert Pujols for assignment, meaning Josh Fleming would not get to pitch against his childhood idol.
While that still might happen, it won’t be in person, but the most important part of this story is that Josh Fleming and Albert Pujols met this series, exchanged pleasantries, and took a photo that the left-hander won’t ever forget.
The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels end their four-game series Thursday night at 9:38 PM EST.