Albert Pujols' Life Is Firmly Rooted In The State Of Missouri (Photos)

Albert Pujols Wildwood home and Pujols Family FoundationAs every baseball fans knows, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is the ultimate prize in this offseason's free agent spending spree. Coming of his second World Series championship, the undisputed best player in the sport is expected to garner a contract in the neighborhood of $30 million per year. While the smart money has Pujols remaining in St. Louis, the possibility of him signing a mega deal somewhere else still exists.

While financial considerations may lead Pujols away from St. Louis, without question, the man's heart firmly resides in the “Show-Me State” of Missouri.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Pujols attended Fort Osage High School in the Kansas City suburb of Independence, Missouri. Upon graduation, he remained in the Kansas City area, matriculating at Maple Woods Community College.

Fast forwarding to Pujols' Major League career, the three-time National League MVP has become an icon and permanent resident of Missouri's other big city.

Initially hanging his hat in the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur, the Pujols family moved into a five bedroom/6.5 bathroom, 7,949 square foot home in the Western St. Louis County suburb of Wildwood. Take a look at an exterior photo and interior video tour of the property, located 30 miles west of downtown St. Louis' Busch Stadium.    

Aside from being a full-time inhabitant of the St. Louis metro area, Pujols has engrossed himself into the region's philanthropic and business communities.

Founded in 2005, the Pujols Family Foundation's mission involves assisting those living with Down syndrome, as well as improving the lives of people in Pujols' native Dominican Republic. The foundation's office is located at the Westport Plaza office and retail complex, adjacent to the western suburb of Maryland Heights.

In 2006, Pujols entered the culinary world, with the opening of Pujols 5 Westport Grill, at the very same Westport Plaza. The sports bar offers a wide array of dining options for St. Louis sports fans. Missourians may even see Mr. Pujols himself walking through the doors of his establishment.

Wednesday, Pujols' image became a permanent fixture at the restaurant, after the unveiling of a 10 foot statue of his likeness, donated by an anonymous donor.

Besides the winning ways of the Cardinals franchise, the team's chances of re-signing one of the best players in baseball history may be significantly enhanced by Pujols' year-round footprint in the St. Louis baseball, real estate, philanthropic and business communities.

Simply put, no other organization or city can compete with what St. Louis provides Pujols, on and off the field.