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Josh Fleming meets his childhood idol, Albert Pujols

Alex Murphy
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MAY 01: Josh Fleming #19 of the Tampa Bay Rays prepares to deliver a pitch to the Houston Astros in the first inning at Tropicana Field on May 01, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MAY 01: Josh Fleming #19 of the Tampa Bay Rays prepares to deliver a pitch to the Houston Astros in the first inning at Tropicana Field on May 01, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Josh Fleming checked an item off his baseball bucket list before Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels as he met his childhood idol: Albert Pujols.

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.

The plan was to have Pujols sign his No. 5 Cardinals jersey Josh Fleming wore during his childhood when the Angels travel to Tropicana Field in June.

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.

Next. Shane McClanahan, Have the Rays found the next Chris Sale?. dark

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