WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama honored the 2011 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals team at the White House Tuesday, praising their comeback victory.
The Cardinals seemed out of the playoffs late in the season when they were trailing Atlanta for the National League wild-card spot by 10 1/2 games Aug. 25, but they won 23 of their last 31 games to get into the post-season.
St. Louis went on to beat Texas in the World Series.
Obama, referring to the Cardinals' march to the playoffs, said, "every once in a while, something happens that we have never seen before -- something unique. And that's why it is my pleasure to stand here with the greatest comeback team in the history of baseball."
Absent from the proceedings were two key figures from the 2011 team -- Manager Tony La Russa, who retired after the season, and slugger Albert Pujols, who left the team as a free agent.
Obama noted that Pujols "joined Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only player to hit three home runs in a World Series game."
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