Never Forget: Albert Pujols Should Have Been a Devil Ray

Never Forget: Albert Pujols Should Have Been a Devil Ray

The headlines could have read, ‘Former Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Albert Pujols will potentially retire after 2021 season.’ Instead, the speculation of a generational talent beginning his farewell tour, sparked by an Instagram post from his wife, is another reminder of what could have been. This goes back to one of my favorite stories in Rays/Devil Rays folklore: Fernando Arango was an area scout for the Devil Rays and stumbled upon a relatively unknown high school prospect for good reason. Albert Pujols and his family had recently moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was 16 and he was just making a name for himself as a high school ballplayer. I first learned of this story years ago while reading The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri. ESPN published an excerpt of the story and it is clear that Arango was fully confident in the potential Pujols had to be a star in the majors. Despite relationship Arango built with Pujols and the raw skills that were displayed in a pre-draft workout at Tropicana Field, the …
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