For me, baseball superstar Albert Pujols is one of those guys.
Born in the Dominican Republic in 1980, he immigrated to the United States as a teenager in 1996 with family members. And with practically no English.
But he made the high school baseball team in Independence, Missouri, and was drafted three years later by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1999, making his MLB debut on April 2, 2001 (also winning the NL Rookie of the Year award). He’s been with St. Louis ever since.
His career highlights are too many to list, including three NL MVP awards (’05, ’08, ’09), World Series champion (’06), All-Star team nine times, Gold Glove awards, Silver Slugger awards, on and on. As of June 6, he’s totaled 421 home runs and has a batting average of .329.
If you want to know stats, you’ll find lots of them in Pujols: More than the Game. But as the title suggests, you’ll find more than just stats in this book.
Authors Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth give you a glimpse into Albert’s life and let you see his solid Christian character.
When Albert because a husband to Deidre in 2000, he also became the father of her daughter Isabella who has Down syndrome.
And he has championed her cause ever since. He established the Pujols Family Foundation partly to benefit people with Down syndrome and other disabilities, as well as for poor families living in the Dominican Republic. He visits his homeland often to give back.
His lifestyle is different from many professional athletes. The authors point that out in the first chapter of this book. Their goal is for you to see more than Albert in their book: along with Albert, they want you to see the God who created Albert.
“You know how I want people to remember me?
I don’t want to be remembered as the best baseball player ever.
I want to remembered as a great guy who loved the Lord, loved to serve the community and who gave back.
That’s the guy I want to be remembered as when I’m done wearing the uniform. That’s from the bottom of my heart.”~ ALBERT PUJOLS
In an era of great stars who often are discovered to be using illegal drugs, I pray that Albert is as clean as he claims to be.
In a Sports Illustrated cover article in 2009, his message to us was:
“Don’t be afraid to believe in me.”
Don’t let me down.
* * *
What athlete with faith do you cheer for, not just for their abilities but for their testimony?
Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy of this book.