Albert's career began with a remarkable rookie season. He won the Players Choice Award for outstanding National League Rookie and was unanimously chosen as the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2001.  The Cardinal slugger didn't slow down one bit in 2002.
Albert started his remarkable sophomore summer by becoming the first big leaguer in history to hit .300, hit 30 home runs, score 100 runs and notch 100 RBIs in each of his first two seasons. In only his second season, he finished second in MVP voting to Barry Bonds of the Giants, and did so while trying his hand at no less than six different positions -- first base, third base, left field, right field, designated hitter, and even shortstop.

In 2003, Albert ranked tenth in the NL in home runs with 34, second in runs with 118, seventh in batting average (.314), ninth in slugging percentage (.561) and second in RBI with 127.

An all-star in his rookie season, Albert had been slated to start the 2001 season at AA, but never gave the Cardinals the chance to send him out. In April 2001, he hit .370 with eight home runs and 27 RBI, and the rest is history.

Albert turned 24 years old in January 2004.

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