Even if your baseball knowledge is limited to the update tracker at the bottom of the television screen, you’ll know the name of Albert Pujols. He’s the only player to hit at least 30 home runs in each of his 10 seasons. He’s been awarded both the National League’s MVP and ESPY (best MLB player) awards three times and, in a sport tainted by Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs), he’s never tested positive for banned substances. But did you also know that Pujols is a Christian? I didn’t, maybe because I’m a casual observer of the game. When Thomas Nelson offered a book that focused on his Christian faith for review, however, I was intrigued enough to take a look.
Pujols is a force on and off the field and the book reflects that. The first part looks at his life before he hit the big time. He grew up in the Dominican Republic. “Sometimes we didn’t have anything to eat for breakfast, but if we could eat lunch and dinner, we weren’t poor.” His father played softball. Like many of his peers, he loved watching baseball. At the age of 16 he moved to the USA with his family and, despite his lack of English skills, made it onto the high school baseball team. That’s where his career began.
The book contains a lot of game statistics and replays. Most of those went over my head. Where I got most enjoyment was in reading his off field activities. Pujols puts his life as a Christian above everything else. He believes his baseball ability comes from God, and it is his job to use that gift for God’s glory. Through his Pujols Family Foundation, he raises money for a Down syndrome organization in St Louis and for an orphanage in his home country. Is he perfect? No, and that’s what I like about this book. The writers make it clear that Christians aren’t perfect and describe more than one incident where Pujols did not act in a positive manner.
There is one other thing that makes this book different from your average biography. There are no glossy photos of Pujols or his family in the middle. I don’t know why that is, but I’d like to think it’s because for Albert Pujols the emphasis should be on God and not him. Even though, yes, this is a book about him.
Overall, this is a decent book that doesn’t make Pujols larger than life. There are a lot of statistics, but casual fans can skip past those. I gave up on baseball long ago (my home team is described in the book as the “perennial cellar-dwelling Pirates”), but this book held my interest to the end.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Note: I received this book from Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze review program. The opinions contained in this review are my own.