There wasn’t much argument. It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that former Fort Osage High School star Albert Pujols would win his third National League Most Valuable Player award.

There wasn’t much argument.

It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that former Fort Osage High School star Albert Pujols would win his third National League Most Valuable Player award.

On Tuesday, that came to fruition when the St. Louis Cardinals slugger was a unanimous choice for the honor for the second straight year and for the third time since 2005. He becomes the 10th player in Major League Baseball history to win at least three MVP awards.

Pujols garnered all 32 first-place votes and totaled 448 points to easily outdistance Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who had 15 second-place votes and 233 points. Missouri native and former Missouri State star Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Philles was a close third with 217 points and six second-place votes.

But Pujols said the reason he won it wasn’t all because of himself.

“It’s an award you give to one person, but I believe if it wouldn’t have been for the help my teammates have given me for the past year, I wouldn’t be standing up here,” Pujols said according to MLB.com. “I always say, if I could split this award and give a piece to every single player that had an impact with this organization, I would do that.”

But Pujols’ bat made a huge impact for the National League Central-champion Cardinals and added to his future Hall of Fame status. In what may arguably be his best season of his career, Pujols hit .327 and led the National League in on-base percenage (.443), slugging percentage (.658), home runs (47) and runs (124). He was second in doubles (45) and third in RBIs (125), walks (career-high 115) and hits (186).

Every player who won at least three MVP awards has been elected to the Hall of Fame, except for Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds, who aren’t yet eligible. That’s something Pujols admitted has crept into his mind.

“There’s three things that as a professional athlete you want,” Pujols said. “You want to get to the big leagues, and I accomplished that. Winning a World Series ring, I got that. And then getting to the Hall of Fame. That’s everybody’s dream. Every athlete, they want to be up there in the Hall of Fame, mentioned with the greatest players to ever play this game.”

 Pujols also joined former Cardinals great Stan Musial as one of the 10 to win at least three MVPs. In addition to Bonds, who has won a record seven, Rodriguez and Musial, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle and Mike Schmidt also won three MVPs each.

“It probably is going to take a couple of days, and then I’ll say, ‘Wow, I’m in the same place with Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, Yogi Berra, Ted Williams’ – the greatest players who have played the game,” Pujols said. “It’s pretty special to me to be mentioned with those guys.”

Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier rounded out the top six vote-getters.

Former Kansas City Royal Jeremy Affeldt got one 10th-place vote.