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David Cook’s athletic career is legendary …. sort of.

As a left-handed pitcher in American Legion level baseball (high school age), Cook’s exploits on the diamond took an abrupt halt. But not before he staked out a claim to fame.

Cook was on the mound one day in Missouri when up to bat came Albert Pujols. Pujols, who had hit 39 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals entering Thursday’s game, has gone on to become one of the best power hitters in Major League Baseball history.

“Well, he hit one off me one day deep to left field,” Cook told IdolChatter in a phone interview last week, “and I don’t know that it’s landed just yet.”

Cook was mainly a pitcher but he also played a little first base. “At least I tried to call myself a first baseman,” he said.

Legion ball was about the time Cook peaked as an athlete and grabbed a guitar. The rest is American Idol history.

So, was it Cook or his dad who wanted him to be an athlete in the first place?

“It was more me,” Cook said. “Both my parents were really cool. They just sorta said whatever makes you happy go for it, so long as it’s not illegal.”

Today Cook is still a huge Kansas City sports fan – the Royals (baseball) and the Chiefs (football) are still his favorites.

Being an AI winner he has also been able to sing the National Anthem as a Lakers/Celtics NBA playoff game and he’s tossed out the first pitch at a couple of baseball games.

“During my visit back home on the Top 3 show for American Idol I got to throw out the first ball at a Royals game,” he said. “That was a thrill and I think I threw a strike. Then I got to toss out the first ball before a game at the new New York Mets stadium. I think I hit a cameraman.”

For the record, it’s been reported in his first year after AI Cook has made in the neighborhood of $2 million. This season Pujols made about $14.5 million.

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