Early on, Pujols learned from Gwynn …

Gonzo and 'The Show'

gwynnAlbert Pujols used to have this videotape of Tony Gwynn conducting a hitting clinic in the late 1990s. The Angels’ first baseman was at Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City then, still striving to be the hitter who would establish himself as one of the greatest ever, and Gwynn was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career. So Pujols popped that tape in frequently, hoping to learn as much as he could from a master at his craft.

“I took a lot of notes off that,” Pujols said Monday, the day Gwynn lost his multiyear battle to salivary gland cancer at the age of 54.

“It’s a sad day,” Pujols added. “Not just for myself, because I got to know him over the years, but for baseball. We lost a great man at a young age.”

Pujols’ first year with the Cardinals – 2001 – was…

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