Albert Pujols, no stranger to the record books or impressive accolades, will make a different kind of history on Monday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants for Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
Pujols, at 41 years old, will also become the oldest player in the majors to start a game at a position other than designated hitter since 2005, when Julio Franco received the nod at first base for the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Houston Astros. Franco at the time was 47 years old.
Pujols has enjoyed a mild resurgence since joining the Dodgers in mid-May. He's hit .254/.299/.460 (101 OPS+) with 12 home runs in 85 contests. Pujols had previously been released by the Los Angeles Angels after batting .198/.250/.372 (67 OPS+) with five home runs in 24 games.
Prior to Pujols, the oldest position player to start for the Dodgers in the postseason at a position other than DH was Steve Finley, who did so as a 39-year-old during the 2004 playoffs. Fellow outfielder Kenny Lofton (2006), catcher Rick Dempsey (1988), and third baseman Tim Wallach (1996) are the only other position players aged 39 or older to start a playoff game for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers and Giants will enter Monday night's contest tied at 1-1 in their best-of-five series. That makes Game 3 pivotal, as the winner will need to win just one more game to advance to the NL Championship Series against whomever prevails in the other NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves.