LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — CBS2/KCAL9 Sports Director Jim Hill went one-on-one Friday with Angels slugger and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.
Hill talked to Pujols about family, his philanthropy and if he’s already thinking about Cooperstown.
First up, Hill wanted to know what continues to drive the slugger?
“I still have that passion for the game,” Pujols said, “being around my teammates, my family, you know, God. For everything he has given to me to play this game. I enjoy every day. For me, every year, I don’t go by what I have accomplished, I go day-by-day and just enjoy it.”
He said he will never lose the competitive edge.
“My job is to try to hopefully help this ball club to win,” he says, “and that’s what I want to accomplish. To win a World Series before I’m done playing.”
Jim said, “You don’t take anything for granted, do you?”
Said Pujols, “No, you can’t. This is my job. I love it. It’s obviously been a blessing and good to me. And I enjoy every moment. But with that, there has been a lot of sacrifice. A lot of injuries I had to deal with it. But that passion and drive is still there. I think when that goes away, it will be time. That will be my body telling me it’s time to go.”
Pujols isn’t going anywhere any time soon. His workouts are the thing of legend.
“It’s something I did since I started pursuing this dream,” he says. “When I was a little boy in the Dominican Republic all the way to high school here and then to college and to the pros. Everything that I do, whether it’s baseball, golf or basketball every sport that I choose I put everything into it.”
Pujols was told that teammate Mike Trout — considered by many to be the best player in the game — thinks of Pujols as his role model and hero.
Pujols is clearly touched by this.
“I really appreciate that,” he says, smiling, “that’s something that I learned from so many veteran guys. They took me under their wing. Like Mikey. And the scary thing is, I think he can get even better. And he wants to get better.”
Pujols also talked about his family, his philanthropy and whether he thinks about Cooperstown.
He credits his family with helping him understand and appreciate the power of his celebrity — especially he teaming with his wife to raise awareness about worldwide sex trafficking.
“I get that from my family,” he says, “at a really young age, watching my dad, my grandma, my family, they were giving people, giving family. If our neighbor didn’t have anything to eat, if we had extra food we would always provide for them. I always say, since I’m a young boy — we weren’t rich, but I believe we weren’t poor. If you have breakfast, lunch and dinner on your table, you cannot say you are poor.”