By Grant Braden
Albert Pujols began his career in 2001, and has produced unmatched numbers from the start.
Taken with the 402nd pick in the 1999 amateur draft, Pujols made his major league debut in the 2001 season, winning a starting job for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Fast-tracking to the present, Pujols has become a player who has fans all over the world. Two of those fans, Tim Ellsworth, director of news and media relations at Union, and Scott Lamb, director of research for the president at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote a book titled “Pujols: More than the Game.”
“I have been a Cardinals fan my whole life and knew about Pujols on the field, but I have also followed him off the field,” Ellsworth said. “I discovered early that he was a believer and I paid special attention.”
Lamb proposed the idea of writing a book about Pujols to Ellsworth in 2009. In October, Ellsworth began researching by taking a trip to Kansas City, Mo., where Pujols grew up and played high school and college baseball. Ellsworth was able to see and interview coaches, teammates and opponents.
The book starts with Pujols in the Dominican Republic, showing a glimpse of his early years and allowing the reader to become emotionally involved with his life.
The common theme throughout the book of Pujols’s life is baseball and the love he has for the game. Coming from a Spanish-speaking country, Pujols was not always able to appropriately communicate with others. He let his bat and work ethic do the talking for him.
The book begins by highlighting each season Pujols played after coming out of college and being drafted. Beginning in 2001, it gives details about each season, showing highs and lows.
Though long at times, the details provided about each season allow the reader to fully comprehend the great skills Pujols possesses.
While Pujols’s work on the field is important and detailed in the book, the information given about the work he does off the field is stronger. It gives the reader the chance to realize that Pujols is a loving husband, father and Christian.
The chapters portraying the work that Pujols does year-round allow the reader to see how he behaves and the way he uses his expenses to better help others instead of himself.
The book showcases chapters that allow the reader to gain a respect for Pujols few stars of high stature may achieve.
“My esteem of him (Pujols) grew,” Lamb said.
“There’s a lot of material that didn’t make it into the book for one reason or the other that when added up really made an impact on me.”
The book has its interesting topics and less exciting points, but the message made throughout ties them all together.
Though what Pujols does on the field is impressive, the strong Christian walk he displays off of it is what is most important to him and what he hopes his fans will remember about him.