It's sometimes speculated that Albert Pujols is underappreciated, but this much is clear: his colleagues know exactly how good he is.
Pujols was named The Sporting News' 2008 Major League Player of the Year, as selected by a panel of 314 players. The honor follows his selection Tuesday as the Players' Choice National League Outstanding Player.
Pujols batted .357 with a career-best .462 on-base percentage and a .653 slugging percentage, 37 home runs, 116 RBIs and 100 runs scored. He was limited to 148 games because of his second career stint on the disabled list, but nonetheless put up some of the best numbers of his career.
"He is the classic complete player," manager Tony La Russa wrote in the upcoming edition of The Sporting News. "I've never had a player who has a better attitude and understanding about why you're in uniform. It's a competition. Albert comes to the ballpark, and he gets ready for the competition and to contribute in a complete way."
Pujols was also voted by his peers as TSN's Player of the Year in 2003.
"You don't want to disrespect other people," La Russa wrote, "so to me, if you say Albert will be in the conversation of the greatest players to ever play the game, that's enough. He doesn't have to be the best, or [second] or [third]. All you need to know is, when you have that conversation of the greatest players of all time, Albert Pujols will be one of the guys you talk about."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.