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Game Note: Batting Averages

On MLB.com, an interesting note about the hitters in this week’s series against the Mariners:

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Of course, Wakamatsu has a pretty talented hitter of his own in Ichiro Suzuki. And between these two teams, three of the league’s 10 highest active career batting averages — those belonging to Pujols, Ichiro and Matt Holiday — are included in this series. Pujols, in fact, has much in common with Ichiro, Seattle’s unparalleled leadoff man.

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Both stars made their debuts in 2001 and quickly demonstrated that they belong in the league’s upper echelon. Ichiro has been an All-Star in each of his nine seasons, while Pujols has earned that honor eight times. Ichiro leads all players in average (.333) and hits (2,120) over the life of his career, while Pujols (1,159) has the most RBIs and second-most home runs (381).

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Pujols also leads the league in doubles. Can anyone name the active leader in home runs since 2001? Jim Thome is third, with 336.

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But perhaps the most worthwhile part of this blurb, for Cardinals fans, is remembering that the players in the lineup who have underperformed so frustratingly have been, and will probably be again, two of the ten best hitters in baseball since they came on the scene.