This observation about the St. Louis Cardinals slugging first baseman Albert Pujols by Yahoo.com sports columnist Jeff Passan seems to capture the essence of the man. Many consider Pujols to be the finest baseball player of his generation. But the way Albert Pujols sees it "Baseball is simply my platform to elevate Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior." In "Pujols: More Than The Game" authors Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth present us with an intimate look at the life of one of the most talented men ever to play the game. This is one professional athlete who seems to have his head screwed on straight and his priorities in order.
While a number of other biographies have been written about Albert Pujols, Lamb & Ellsworth wanted to do something just a bit different. In "Pujols: More Than A Game" you will discover that despite the fact that Albert Pujols grew up in the heavily Roman Catholic Dominican Republic religion had played virtually no role in his life prior to his arrival in the United States at the age of 16. Albert's father Bienvenido was a popular professional pitcher in the DR and had little time for religion. It was not until Albert met the love of his life and future wife Dee Dee that he would embrace Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Once this happened Albert's life would never be the same again.
Over the first ten years of his storied career Albert Pujols would lead the Cardinals to a World Championship and amass an impressive total of three National League MVP awards. He is a lifetime .331 hitter and has already stroked more than 400 home runs. Lamb & Ellsworth provide many of the details of his amazing prowess on the diamond throughout the book. But while baseball is extremely important to Albert the thing that he and Dee Dee are most proud of is the important work being done by the charity that they founded. Launched in 2005, the Pujols Family Foundation supports the work of two causes near and dear to their hearts, namely the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis and the Orfanato Ninos de Cristo orphanage in the Dominican Republic. The couple not only supports the Foundation financially, but also devotes a great deal of their very limited spare time to the organization. They feel strongly that they are doing the work God intended them to do.
Given his astounding numbers over the past decade many baseball fans wonder aloud whether Albert Pujols has ever taken Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Because so many of Major League Baseball's biggest and brightest stars have been implicated in the scandal I suppose it is only natural for fans to be suspicious of Pujols. The authors devote an entire chapter to the steroids question and this is without a doubt the most revealing chapter in the book. The authors present a very compelling case that Albert Pujols is the real deal and list chapter and verse why he would never allow himself to get involved with PEDs. Among the arguments they make is that Pujols has never once been implicated in the scandal and has displayed an amazing amount of self-control throughout his lifetime. And perhaps the most important reason of all is that Albert Pujols is a committed and God-fearing Christian. In 2006 Pujols told reporters who were continually hounding him about this issue that "They can test me every day if they want. I don't care". He steadfastly denies that he was ever involved. Although such unfounded allegations hurt him Albert Pujols seems very comfortable in his own skin and extremely confident in his God-given ability. All of the available evidence leads you to conclude that he is not the kind of individual who would ever resort to cheating to get ahead.
As the life story of Albert Pujols unfolds in "Pujols: More Than The Game" it becomes abundantly clear that despite the fact that Albert expects to have a long and productive career in professional baseball and is a slam-dunk first ballot Hall of Famer his chief priorities in life continue to be his family and more importantly his commitment to Jesus Christ. Pujols realizes that his baseball career will come to an end one day and he and Dee Dee are already making plans for a full-time life of service to others after his playing days are over. Furthermore, they are both looking forward to that prospect with great anticipation. Albert Pujols lives his Christian faith each and every day and serves as a shining example of how a professional athlete should conduct himself. After reading "Pujols: More Than The Game" I have nothing but respect and admiration for this man. Having said that I thought that the book was a bit long-winded at times and I wonder if this story could have been told in a 10 or 12 page magazine article. As such I can only muster a somewhat lukewarm recommendation for this one.
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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Authors Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth spare no tale of this growing baseball legend, all the while accentuating "the unseen hand of divine providence" that has shaped the man Albert Pujols has become.
From the foreword by Joe Posnanski, Senior Writer at Sports Illustrated: How does Pujols find ways to keep getting better? Some of the secrets are in this fine book by Lamb and Ellsworth.
Mike Huckabee, 44th Governor of Arkansas: One thing about Pujols--he matches in his personal life the excellence that he demonstrates on the diamond. You will love this book and will love Pujols if you don't already. You may never love the Cards like I do, but there's hope for you!
Tommy Herr, St. Louis Cardinals' 2nd baseman, 1979-1988: As a part of the great tradition of St. Louis Cardinals baseball, it is very gratifying to me to see a man of Albert's character enjoy the success that he has achieved. His dedication to his craft and to God makes him the ultimate Hall of Famer.
Derrick Goold, baseball writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Lamb and Ellsworth peek behind the box scores, scrape beneath the statistics, and illuminate not just what drives Pujols in the batter's box, but what inspires him beyond it.
Frank Pastore, former pitcher for Reds and Twins: Ellsworth and Lamb do a great job exposing the wonderful man beneath the uniform. Even if you're not a baseball fan, you can't help but fall in love with this quality...