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Pujols: More Than the Game

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Overview

After a decade starring for the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols is already compared with names in the highest reaches of baseball’s pantheon: Ruth, Gehrig, Aaron, Mays. Slugging his way toward the Hall of Fame, Pujols has raised the game’s standard for greatness beyond any statistical measure. But the standard by which Pujols measures himself has less to do with baseball performance than with honoring God and exemplifying his faith for the millions who follow him.

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Overview

After a decade starring for the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols is already compared with names in the highest reaches of baseball’s pantheon: Ruth, Gehrig, Aaron, Mays. Slugging his way toward the Hall of Fame, Pujols has raised the game’s standard for greatness beyond any statistical measure. But the standard by which Pujols measures himself has less to do with baseball performance than with honoring God and exemplifying his faith for the millions who follow him.

From his birthplace in the Dominican Republic to his high-school days in Kansas City, from a single season in the minor leagues to the World Series and nine All-Star Games, Pujols has developed his immense talents on the baseball diamond, all the while focusing his direction—and the direction of his family—with the belief that a higher power is behind every achievement.

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. It’s a story that will inspire, and a reminder of the human quality behind superhuman achievement.

A story—still in the making—of allowing God’s strength to guide one man’s path to be the best his game has ever seen.

His numbers are staggering.

In 2010 Albert Pujols became the first player in baseball history to bat .300 with 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in for ten consecutive seasons. Babe Ruth didn’t do it. Ted Williams didn’t do it. Hank Aaron didn’t do it. The fact that this was accomplished in Pujols’ first ten seasons only makes the achievement more, well, Ruthian.

Albert Pujols’ story goes beyond numbers, though. Beyond the bright lights and packed stadiums of Major League Baseball. Even beyond the adulation of millions who have come to see the St. Louis Cardinal star as the rare “once-in-a-lifetime-player” who transcends team loyalties.

Through the 2010 season, Pujols hit 408 home runs. And every time he touched home plate after sending another baseball to a random bookshelf or trophy case, Pujols pointed heavenward. Toward the strength behind his otherworldly talents, toward the inspiration that lifts him on a daily basis, regardless of his team’s place in the standings. For Jesus Christ is Albert Pujols’ first love. Faith, family, then maybe baseball.

Endorsements:

“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.” —Mike Huckabee , 44th Governor of Arkansas, Former Republican presidential candidate, Host of Fox News ’ Huckabee Show, Best-selling author

But Pujols’ argument for greatest player ever isn’t nearly as interesting or significant as the fact that there even is an argument. That’s because perhaps the most amazing thing about Albert Pujols is that less than two years before he began one of the greatest rookie seasons in baseball history, he was a non-prospect." -Joe Posnanski, Senior Writer at Sports Illustrated (included in the Foreword)

"Pujols is full of nuggets. Given that the action in the famous poem "Casey at the Bat" starts with “Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,” I enjoyed reading that Albert Pujols asks opposing runners at first base, “If you died today, where do you think you’re going to go?” Lamb and Ellsworth lucidly describe both the season-by-season baseball exploits of Pujols and the impact he’s having on some lives for eternity." -Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-chief, World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595552242
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/22/2011
  • Pages: 258
  • Sales rank: 631,542
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Lamb is director of research for the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.He has pastored churches in Alabama and Missouri. He writes articles for Christian newspapers and magazines, and blogs for World magazine and the "Civil Religion" forum of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He and his wife, Pearl, have five children.

Tim Ellsworth is director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Tim previously worked as associate editor of the Illinois Baptist and director of news and information at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Tim is the author of God in the Whirlwind: Stories of Grace from the Tornado at Union University. He is also the editor of Baptist Press Sports. He and his wife, Sarah, have three children.

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Table of Contents

Contents

FOREWORD BY JOE POSNANSKI....................xi
CHAPTER ONE THE HIGHWAY'S JAMMED WITH BROKEN HEROES....................3
CHAPTER TWO WE HAD EVERYTHING BUT MONEY....................13
CHAPTER THREE THE BASEBALL GODS WERE SMILING....................20
CHAPTER FOUR DEE DEE....................27
CHAPTER FIVE RAISING STOCK AT MAPLE WOODS....................32
CHAPTER SIX MORE THAN THE GAME....................38
CHAPTER SEVEN DRAFT-DODGING AND JAYHAWKING....................41
CHAPTER EIGHT WILL IT PLAY IN PEORIA?....................48
CHAPTER NINE PUT ME IN, COACH, I'M READY TO PLAY....................56
CHAPTER TEN ROOKIE OF THE YEAR....................65
CHAPTER ELEVEN A TIME TO LAUGH, A TIME TO CRY....................78
CHAPTER TWELVE PILGRIMS PROGRESSING....................87
CHAPTER THIRTEEN A NATIONAL TREASURE....................92
CHAPTER FOURTEEN ALMOST....................105
CHAPTER FIFTEEN YOU SHALL RAISE UP THE FOUNDATIONS....................120
CHAPTER SIXTEEN MVP....................126
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES....................136
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN THAT'S A WINNER!....................144
CHAPTER NINETEEN FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE....................157
CHAPTER TWENTY SOMETIMES, IT'S PRETTY TOUGH....................166
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE THE STEROIDS CHAPTER....................175
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO THE MACHINE....................190
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS....................200
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR DON'T BE AFRAID TO BELIEVE IN ME....................208
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE UNFINISHED BUSINESS....................220
APPENDIX SEASON-BY-SEASON STATS....................230
NOTES....................231
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS....................247
ABOUT THE AUTHORS....................249
INDEX....................250
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First Chapter

PUJOLS

MORE THAN THE GAME
By SCOTT LAMB TIM ELLSWORTH

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Walter S. Lamb a/k/a Scott Lamb and Timothy W. Ellsworth a/k/a Tim Ellsworth
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-224-2


Chapter One

The Highway's Jammed with Broken Heroes

There was too much Albert Pujols today. —Jim Tracy, Pittsburgh Pirates manager, September 3, 2006

The bronzed Latino approached the batter's box and performed the necessary rituals. Dug in with the right foot. Tapped the back of home plate with the bat. Glanced toward the small dirt mound just sixty feet to the left.

Another man stood atop that hill and worked through rituals of his own—groin-scratching, spitting, signaling, more scratching. He prepared himself for the sophisticated hurling of a small sphere made of cork, twine, and leather—otherwise known as a baseball.

A grizzled broadcaster looked down from the media booth where he sat behind his microphone, describing the on-field action with familiar terms and labels: fastball, changeup, curveball, slider.

But for the man at the plate wearing jersey number 5, the "perfect opportunity" pitch was the delivery he looked for, the delivery he knew would come. Only then would he swing his maple bat in an arc of geometric beauty and poetic power.

It was a Sunday game on the third of September, 2006. Gone was the sticky heat of the St. Louis summer, replaced with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-seventies. Early autumn made a perfect day for baseball, a fact not lost on the forty thousand fans who were soon to arrive.

This was the inaugural year of baseball in the red-brick home that some locals still called the new Busch Stadium, a reminder of past baseball glory and civic pride. On the tenth of April, Albert Pujols had become the first Cardinal to hit a home run in the new digs. He'd gone on to smash fourteen homers that month, a Major League Baseball record for April.

But now it was September, the last month of the grinding regular season. Just ten days earlier, the Cardinals had been locked in a tie for first place in the National League Central Division with the Cincinnati Reds. By the time the perennial cellar-dwelling Pirates came into town for a weekend series, the Cardinals had pulled away from the pack. A win today would put them a full six games ahead of the Reds. To get the win, though, they would have to beat Ian Snell, ace pitcher for the Pirates.

Pujols knew this day would bring special joy. It was Buddy Walk in the Park Day, when children with Down syndrome went on field during pregame ceremonies, rubbing shoulders and running the bases with big leaguers. Pujols walked around the field meeting countless numbers of children. While it would be fair to say these youngsters came to see a baseball game, in reality they came to see Pujols. Their joy would become his joy. Indeed, they were his buddies, and he was their hero.

Pujols stooped down and got on the level of a talkative ten-year-old boy, eye-to-eye and ear-to-ear, and listened to the exuberance of innocent baseball fervor.

Then the boy made his request—a home run. He wanted a home run from Pujols.

"I'll see what I can do," Pujols said with a smile.

Another child approached, leaned forward, and spoke into Pujols' ear.

It was the same request—just a home run. Today. Please. Thank you.

Pujols smiled big and assured each child he would try his best to hit one out today.

Although his response to the kids dripped with confidence, it didn't flow from pride in his abilities. Rather, Pujols simply knew from experience that when the stadium rocked with the cheers of thousands of children with Down syndrome, special things just seemed to happen.

Buddy Walk Day and Pujols had been good to each other in the past: In 2002, Pujols had hit a home run and driven in three runs. In 2003, he'd again hit a home run, this time in a dramatic thirteenth-inning win over Houston.

Did the kids understand just how hard it was to hit a home run off a major league pitcher? Probably not.

Nevertheless, even as they ran back to their parents and their peanuts and their Cracker Jack, they basked in a joy that can only come from meeting one's hero and asking him to smash the ball over the wall ... "for me."

After the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the first inning was underway. The last of the fans filed into their seats with a hot dog in one hand and a cold drink in the other.

Most of the crowd was clothed in Cardinal red, with a few Pittsburgh fans sporting grey, black, and gold. Some of these had "Clemente" stitched on their back—a noble name worthy of remembrance. Like those Pirates fans, St. Louisans appreciate baseball history and baseball heroes, especially their own: Musial, Gibson, Brock, Sutter, and Ozzie.

The Cards made quick work of the Pirates in the top half of the first—three up and three down—and headed back to the dugout for their turn at-bat.

On Snell's fifth pitch, Cards second baseman Aaron Miles grounded to the Pirates' first baseman, Ryan Doumit, for the first out.

Right-fielder Chris Duncan then stepped up to the plate and quickly fell into an 0–2 hole. He watched the next three pitches go by for balls, making it a full count. The next pitch looked like a gem, but Duncan swung through it for strike three.

So with two outs and nobody on base, Pujols walked up to the plate for his first at-bat of the day.

The first pitch was low; ball one.

Pujols readied himself for the second pitch. Though only the first inning, the stadium was electric in anticipation. Probably even a beer vendor or two twisted his neck to see the action on the field.

Snell wound and delivered.

A quick swing of the bat and seconds later the baseball landed 410 feet away in left-field seats. Pujols' fortieth home run of the season gave the Cards an early 1–0 lead.

Dozens of delirious Buddy Walk kids simultaneously had the same thought—Albert Pujols hit me a home run!

And so he did. Because heroes do heroic things—for others.

Vin Scully, Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers, once quipped, "Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination."

That is, statistics don't provide the full measure of an individual baseball player's impact on his team or on his era. For that, you need stories—lots of stories. You get the stories from loving the game, and this love affair demands faithful watching, listening, playing, and reading. And this is a romance with multigenerational rewards, for these are the stories you will tell your kids, and your kids will tell your grandkids.

If you don't own any of these stories yet yourself, then just listen in on guys like Scully or Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon and borrow some of theirs. They won't mind.

Pujols hustled around the bases. No showboating. No Jeffrey Leonard "one flap down." Pujols knew all too well that even great baseball players with a batting average of .300 will still fail at the plate seven times out of ten. This time up he got the big hit, but the next three times he could just as likely produce an out.

Did you notice what just happened? Right there, in the very act of telling a good home-run story, we ended up talking statistics and batting averages—and for good reason. Though the stories do illuminate, it is the stats that give support to phrases like one of the all-time greats.

If baseball math isn't your thing, then go ahead and skip the next page or two. But, if you like your baseball heroes smothered in a thick gravy of amazing stats, then Pujols is your man, and this section is for you.

It's no wonder Pujols routinely tops the list of the greatest players in modern Major League Baseball. Even before turning thirty, he had accrued batting totals that most players only hope to gain over the course of an entire career.

Among all major leaguers who ever played the game, Pujols already ranks in the top twenty in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and on base plus slugging (adjusted for league and ballpark effects). In simple terms, he is already one of the twenty greatest offensive players in baseball history.

Pujols hit 201 home runs in his first five seasons, placing him in second place all-time for the most homers hit during a player's first five years. Not stopping there, in 2009 he reached the 350–home run mark at a younger age than anyone except Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. By doing so, he also surpassed the record for most home runs in the first nine years of a career, breaking the mark established by Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner way back in 1954.

And speaking of nine seasons, Pujols now stands as the only player ever to begin a career with ten consecutive years of thirty home runs and a hundred runs batted in.

Take a deep breath. We're just getting started.

Pujols owns the Cardinals franchise record for most career grand slams, having surpassed a guy known as Stan the Man.

When compared to legends of the game, Pujols stands alongside Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Joe DiMaggio as one of only four players to have less than five hundred career strikeouts and a career batting average over .330 at the time they hit their three-hundredth home run.

Yankee hero Lou Gehrig posted nine consecutive seasons with thirty doubles, a .300 batting average, thirty home runs, and one hundred runs batted in. Has anyone else accomplished this feat? Nobody except Pujols, and he has now accomplished this feat for ten consecutive years.

In more than one hundred years of National League baseball, nobody ranks ahead of Pujols in extra base hits (744) within the first 5,000 career at-bats. He gets around a lot.

He has led the Cards to postseason play year after year, and to the World Series twice, winning it all in 2006.

And what about individual awards?

Pujols is a three-time National League MVP (Most Valuable Player), a three-time winner of the ESPY Award (best MLB player), and a nine-time NL All-Star. In 2003, he won the NL batting title and subsequently won the Hank Aaron Award (given each year to only one player in each league) for hitting prowess. On defense, he won a Gold Glove in 2006. He has earned Player of the Month honors six times, won the NL Silver Slugger award six times, and was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2001. In 2009, a sports columnist placed Pujols' offensive stats in historical perspective when he wrote, "If Pujols plays only nine more years and simply averages the numbers he put up in his worst season to date, he would retire at 38 with a career average around .330 and rank fifth on the all-time list in home runs (659), fourth in RBIs (2,035) and in the top 10 in runs (2057) and walks (1,792). Only Babe Ruth has done better."

Those kinds of stats both illuminate and support.

It was the bottom of the third inning, and the Cardinals still led 1–0.

After fighting off several pitches, Aaron Miles swung for strike three. One out.

Next up was Chris Duncan.

Chris is the son of Dave Duncan, the revered pitching-coach guru for the Cardinals. Dave played eleven seasons as a catcher before turning to coaching and has worked with Cards manager Tony La Russa for nearly three decades and on three different teams. So, Chris had been around a lot of baseball in his life, and a good portion of it had come in proximity to his father.

For Pujols and his "Papá," Bienvenido, the father-son relationship worked itself out a little differently. Pujols didn't see him all that much, being raised instead by his grandma América, alongside aunts and uncles who shared common living quarters there in the Dominican Republic.

But when it came to baseball, Pujols knew he wanted to be like his father. Bienvenido was known throughout the island for his pitching prowess and great passion for the game. In like manner, from the earliest days of childhood, Albert played ball whenever and wherever he could. Yes, he would be like Papá.

Duncan singled on a line drive that dropped in front of right fielder Xavier Nady. From the dugout, Dave took fatherly pride in his son's accomplishments. With Duncan on first and only one out, Pujols walked up to the plate for his second at-bat. Snell strategized how to go after him this time around. He made his decision, and he then made his pitch.

The loud crack of Pujols' bat echoed off the shining steel of the Gateway Arch and killed some pigeons in flight. Well, maybe not, but it was a thunderous thwack.

As Yogi Berra said, "It's déjà vu all over again." The Pirates certainly felt that way as Pujols hit his second home run of the day over the same left field wall. Into the stands went the ball, and onto the scoreboard went two more runs. The Cards now led 3–0.

With two home runs in two at-bats, Buddy Walk Day was going very well indeed.

As Pujols again rounded the bases and crossed home plate, he pointed to the sky, acknowledging God as the source of all athletic skill and talent. Then, as he glanced up into the stadium at the fans celebrating with him, he saw families having fun—enjoying the game and enjoying one another.

Being a hero to large numbers of baseball fans must feel great. Being a hero to buddies with Down syndrome must be even better. But being a hero to your own family—nothing beats that.

So, what does it mean to be a hero to your own family?

To Pujols' wife, Dee Dee, being a hero means fidelity, honesty, abiding love, and friendship. To his children, being a hero means time, talk, and taking interest.

To Pujols' father, grandma, and the extended family that helped raise him, being a hero means upholding the family's standards of integrity, instilled in him by word and "whoopin'." Pujols once explained why he had never used steroids, saying that his family would be "embarrassed and disappointed because it would be stupid." He said, "That's not the way I grew up. Papá would give me a whoopin'. I can't make you believe what I stand for. I can only tell you my story."

Pujols' story is of one being a hero in his own home. Because heroes do heroic things for their families.

As the bottom of the fifth rolled around, the scoreboard still displayed 3–0 in favor of the Cardinals, and Snell remained on the mound for the Pirates.

Once again Duncan singled, and once again Pujols walked to the plate.

But Pujols didn't want to become too predictable. Rather than hitting a home run to left field, this time he sent the ball over the center field fence. Sometimes you've just got to shake things up a bit.

Snell was a great sport about the shellacking he took from Pujols that day. During the postgame interview he said, "I hung it, and he banged it. I thought it was going to hit the St. Louis Arch out there. I wanted to go high-five him. That's unreal. That's like Superman playing baseball."

Many fans, especially the young ones, dream about living the life of a baseball superstar, imagining the pleasures of stockpiled fortune and fame. Albert and Deidre Pujols have given clear testimony, however, that Jesus Christ is at the center of their lives, providing meaning, purpose, and direction. They talk and walk their Christianity and their commitment to faith, family, others. Pujols writes:

People have said to me, "Albert, I would give anything to be able to play baseball like you." They may look at my abilities and think that being a great baseball player is the goal of my life. Believe it or not, baseball is not the chief ambition of my life. Becoming a great baseball player is important to me, but it is not my primary focus. Because I know the Hall of Fame is not my ultimate final destination. My life's goal is to bring glory to Jesus. My life is not mostly dedicated to the Lord, it is 100% committed to Jesus Christ and His will. God has given me the ability to succeed in the game of baseball. But baseball is not the end; baseball is the means by which my wife, Dee Dee, and I glorify God. Baseball is simply my platform to elevate Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

When Albert and Dee Dee Pujols talk about faith, it is a word loaded with real content. In a day and age when churches and denominations seem afraid to speak unequivocally about doctrinal commitments, a first baseman in the MLB comes forth with a ten-point statement of faith nearly four hundred words long.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from PUJOLS by SCOTT LAMB TIM ELLSWORTH Copyright © 2011 by Walter S. Lamb a/k/a Scott Lamb and Timothy W. Ellsworth a/k/a Tim Ellsworth. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

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(14)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Highly recommend for any person who loves God and Baseball!

    Just reading the information about the book, I knew I would like it. I love baseball and I adore the man Albert Pujols. To me, Pujols was just a machine on the field who could hit home runs in a blink of the eye. Yes, I saw that Albert would point to the sky and kiss the cross on his necklace every time he did something big on the field. But, I never realized how much he believed in God and all that he did for him. This story is very inspiring and it has showed me how big a part God has in our lives. After reading this story, Albert is one of the most inspiring people out there. This story isn't only filled with statistical facts about him and the game. It has an even amount of the game and of his spiritual life. Even if you don't know much about the game, you'll be able to understand or if you're not the religious type, you'll enjoy the book. It's a great book for people of all ages to read. I recommend this book to anybody out there who loves the game of Baseball and to anybody out there who loves God or even needs inspiration. Pujols: More than the game deserves a five out of five stars.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 24, 2011

    The J.O.Y. of Albert Pujols

    J.O.Y. is the principle that you put Jesus first, your others second, and yourself last. This week I read Pujols More than the Game. It is an autobiography about the man, the myth, the legend-Albert Pujols, and his passion to live everyday for Jesus Christ, serves others, and then seeks the good of himself. If you are an avid Cardinals fan like my husband and me or you just admire and respect Albert Pujols, you are going to love this book. The authors, Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth, do an amazing job of mixing real-life baseball stories, stats, and other interesting Pujols facts in a way that is both interesting and informative. I have learned much about how truly amazing Pujols' career stats truly are without getting bored by all the numbers so I have to say good job and mission accomplished to Lamb and Ellsworth.

    I did love reading the heart warming baseball and ministry stories in the book, and I was heartbroken at the harsh reality that Albert and Deidre faced before Pujols started bringing home the big bugs in the majors. However, what I loved most of all is the way that the authors' writing style and format captured the very talented but also very humble essence of who Albert Pujols is both as a baseball player and a man of faith.


    Reading Pujols More than the Game has been an enlightening and encouraging experience for me. I think the authors summarized the book and Albert's life best in the very first chapter. There they write, "Puhols' faith is neither a vague spirituality nor an improve-your-morals campaign. Rather, the core of his faith is in Jesus Christ, defined in his foundation's statement of faith as "God's only Son, [who] lived a perfect life of obedience to the Father and substituted Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He became our mediator to bridge the gap between mankind and a Holy, Sinless God."(p 10)

    I just have to say again.this book is a great read! It will encourage your heart and help you find some J.O.Y., and if you aren't a Christian already it will open your eyes to the true Power behind one of the greatest men in history of baseball. If you love baseball, you need to read Pujols More than the Game!

    A copy of this book was provided to me for free by Thomas Nelson Publishing for book review purposes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Great book!

    I was interested in this book by the Christian touch it has and the history behind thia truly great player. The book talks alot about his records and such so be prepared for baseball terminology. Overall though a great book that really shows all that Albert is about. Highly suggest!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Ger!!!!!!!

    He was my role model intill he moved go CADINALS

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Cardinals fan

    Why did Pujols leave St. Louis? :(

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Inspirational

    The story of how a poor boy in the dominican republic became the star he is today. It is sad that he plays for the angels now but he said thats where he wants to be and i respect his disision.
    P.s dont make fun of his last name
    To:the person who made fun of his name

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    Pujols

    Great ,beast player

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  • Posted May 7, 2011

    Pujols

    Indians have a love - hate relationship with Baseball. We know it is a lot like cricket (our unofficial national game), But we also know that it is a lot NOT like cricket. Compared to cricket, Baseball rules look less straightforward, May be Americans will find cricket rules confusing.

    Recently, I visited Singapore and in one dinner conversation, we had people from 7 different countries. Everyone else understood baseball, except three of us from India. So, we explained them the Cricket rules and they compared them with Baseball rules and arrived at a conclusion that it is not difficult to map these two, if you care to spend 15 minutes of your time.

    Baseball superstar Albert Pujols' autobiography (titled "Pujols") gave me some very good insights into this game, How a professional player approaches it, How it all started and what it takes to reach the status he is in today. Surprisingly, Pujols states in this very well written book that there are many more things which are important in baseball success (or for that matter any success) than the game itself, For example, human quality, guiding forces and more.

    Some may think it is too early for a Pujols biography. But that is the point here, While the history is in the making, it makes sense to analyze the factors behind it. Except few statistics, and new successes, not much is going to change in terms of basics, Right?

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    A must read for the baseball fan

    "I can't make you believe what I stand for. I can only tell you my story." And tell his story he did. Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth do a masterful job of painting a complete picture of the man behind the baseball player, Albert Pujols. Many times misunderstood, or misread, they dig deep into the history and "good fortune", that has made Pujols one of the best loved, and most heroic players of the last decade. There is quite a bit of the story that involves his wife Dee, and it keeps the reader engaged to learn how they, together, have used Albert's career and opportunities, to partner in ministry. You don't have to love baseball to like this book, although Lamb and Ellsworth do an excellent job of chronicling the stats that Pujols has put together over his career. The most impressive is the fact that in 2010, Pujols became the first player in baseball history to bat .300 with 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in for ten consecutive seasons. An excellent book for the baseball fan and for the person looking for a feel good story about a million dollar athlete who has not lost perspective on life and is using his gifts to glorify God.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    A Sports Star My Grandson Can Look Up To!

    Pujols, More Than a Game By Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth Published by Thomas Nelson, 2011 Albert Pujols may be the greatest player in the history of baseball! Through the age of thirty, he has more homers than Babe Ruth, more hits than Pete Rose, more RBIs than Hank Aaron, and more runs than Rickey Henderson did at that age. Pujols is a hero to our grandson, Collin Ledbetter, age 14, who plays third base and often pitches for the baseball team at Northwest Christian School in Phoenix, AZ. Collin is the reason I chose this particular book for my review. In a day when many sports heroes avoid the title, "role model," Albert Pujols exemplifies someone who can wear that label proudly. Co-authors, Lamb and Ellsworth, have given sports fans an account of Pujols story from his birth in the Dominican Republic to his career in baseball's Major League. Growing up in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, young Albert frequently tagged along with his father, a professional softball player. Watching his father play, Pujols was gripped early by a love for baseball. But Pujols also witnessed his father's heavy drinking with teammates and friends following the games. By the time Pujols was nine years old, he was regularly carrying his drunken father home late at night and vowing he wouldn't follow in his father's footsteps. These early experiences impacted young Pujols. In an interview with Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated concerning his father's alcoholism, Pujols said simply, "God made me older." During Pujols' teen years, several family members, including his father and grandmother, moved from the Dominican Republic to the United States, settling in Kansas City, MO where Pujols registered at Fort Osage Senior High School and played baseball while struggling to learn English. That summer he played American Legion baseball and then for Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City, later moving on to St. Louis and the Majors, signing with the Cardinals. The book tells how Pujols met and married his wife, Dee Dee, and how she influenced him to become a Christian believer. Throughout the book, the authors describe the impact of Pujol's Christian faith on his life. "Every time I go out there, it's to glorify my God," says Pujols. Imagine everyone's surprise when Pujols' name turned up on a list of athletes who were reported to have used performance-enhancing drugs! The media reports were later declared to have been inaccurate and Pujols' calm demeanor during that time was noted by many. His reasons for avoiding drug use are also listed in the book. This book will be a delight to those who love baseball, including our grandson, Collin! I received this complimentary book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze Program. Reviewed by Carole Ledbetter March 30, 2011

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    The book Pujols: More Than The Game by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth was a great read! After completing the book, I have a huge respect for this man's heart and a clear understanding of his mission.

    I chose the book Pujols: More Than The Game by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth, because my son is a huge fan of Albert Pujols. When I saw the title of the book, I was thrilled to see that he is not only an amazing ball player, which I already knew, but a Christ follower as well, which I didn't know. The biography begins with the story of Albert Pujols' meager beginnings in Santo Domingo. Most of the population there would be considered by United States standards to be living at or below the poverty level. The fact that there were nights that he went to bed hungry, had dirt floors in his home, and used a milk carton for a glove, sticks for a bat, and a lime for a ball, just to play baseball were endearing enough to learn, but add to it Albert's attributing his grandmother for "making him the man he is today", and I was hooked! Throughout the book, the authors tell of Albert's saving faith in Jesus Christ. They quote him as stating, "Baseball is simply my platform to elevate Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior." Each chapter is rich with details. The authors discuss his family as having great worth to him, including his wife Deidra and their four children, one of which has Downs Syndrome. They also discuss the organization that he and his wife launched together called the "Pujols Family Foundation." If it's statistical information on Pujols or the St. Louis Cardinals you're after, then you won't be disappointed! The book is rich in game history, stats, and trivia. There is even an entire chapter written about the false reporting that occurred in 2007 around the Mitchell Report and Pujols' supposed use of PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs). This was a well written book that clearly defines to the reader details of Pujols' life and his mission to give God the glory for his talents. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and would therefore highly recommend it. Thank you to Thomas Nelson (since 1798) Publishing for this review copy of Pujols More Than The Game. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Recommended for everyone

    Pujols: More Than the Game by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth is more than a book. It is also an inspiration. This book has something for everyone. There are plenty of statistics for the sports fan. There is the story of true love for the romantic. There is hope and knowledge for those lost. Lamb and Ellsworth give a great illustration of a man who is a true winner because of his faith. This was an easy read as the writers did a great job integrating biographical facts with interesting stories of Albert Pujols' life and career. It is a book the entire family can read as it outlines Pujols' struggles, successes and courage in all areas of his life. It offers real life examples of how always following the heart of God even when it goes against the "clubhouse trend" doesn't leave one behind, but pushes him further ahead. I would definitely recommend Pujols: More Than the Game to anyone looking for a little inspiration. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Pujols- More than the Game

    "The Machine"....highly touted player Albert Pujols shows that his journey wasn't left up to fate. He recounts his Christian journey and how it brought him to the game, his wife, and to what is so important to him. The Pujols Family Foundation is highlighted in this book and I found the book easy to read, and when the baseball stats got overwhelming, I just skipped over them. The journey itself is worth the read, but baseball lovers will enjoy it all. Highly recommend for teens who are in sports.
    I did review this book as a reviewer for Booksneeze, but am not obligated or compensated for this review.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Pujols: an enjoyable diversion

    Through Book Sneeze, Thomas Nelson provided me with a copy of Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth's biography of one of baseball's best players: Pujols: More than the Game. Focusing on his spectacular career so far, his family, and his work with Down syndrome and poverty in the Dominican Republic, this book portrays Albert Pujols as a man who seeks to glorify God both on and off the field. Although I pay more attention to the American League than the National League (and thus haven't payed much attention to Pujols's team, the Cardinals), the dramatic accounts of seasons combined with the impressive statistics they presented made me root along with the St. Louis fans, most of the time. I still cheered when the authors described the Red Sox beating the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. I appreciated that the authors explicitly say that Pujols, though a Christian and a great athlete, is not perfect. However, at times it seemed to try to cover over unbecoming behavior, such as claiming that his yelling at a third base umpire "showed him to be a player willing to stand up for his teammates, even as a tewnty-one-year-old rookie" (page 70). Although I probably won't think of it as one of the most influential books I read this year, I found it an enjoyable diversion. If you love baseball, you'll probably enjoy reading Pujols; I know I did.

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Real Sports Hero

    Title: <em>Pujols: More Than the Game </em>
    Authors: Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth
    Publisher: Thomas Nelson

    Summary: Anyone who has been around baseball the last 10 years knows the name of Albert Pujols. The St. Louis Cardinals' top slugger has made an impact with his bat and style of play. This book chronicles his life and career from his beginnings in the Dominion Republic, to the big league success. Pujols is indeed not the average player for so many more reasons than his stats. The authors not only follow his career path, but also the faith and family that have sustained him on this journey. Interwoven into each season, are clearly the deeds and actions and heart of a man of Christ. From the founding of his own <em>Pujols Family Foundation</em> to his continual testimony spoken in clubhouses and interviews, Pujols has shown himself to be about "More Than the Game."

    What I Liked: What can I say? I'm a sucker for a sports biography. I love the games, and seeing where athletes come from - what inspires them and pushes them to succeed. Before reading this book, I didn't know much about Albert. This book definitely tries to cover his story in it's pages - from the beginning, through the transition to living in the U.S. - to baseball's elite. Lots of quotes from those who have known Albert along the way. I love how the authors wove his faith into his major league career. In each step, we see Albert embracing God as he grows into his career as a baseball player, from Rookie of the Year, to World Series Champ. We also see the grace under pressure - the losses in the Cardinal clubhouse, the stand against PEDs - all firmly wound with his faith and the integrity that goes with it.

    What I Didn't Like: As I said, I love spots bios. But this one never gave me the true sense of what made Albert tick. What was he thinking as he tried to make it to the bigs? There is a lot of outside perspective, interviews of other people, but not as much personal insight by Pujols himself. While the authors deftly wove the stories of his career and faith, the book felt like a collection of quotes more than a personal journey.

    Overall - A solid sports bio with a faith perspective. And I bet if you're a Cardinal fan, you will love this one!

    A review copy of this book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze Program. All opinions are my own.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Amazing story

    PUJOLS
    More than the Game
    by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth
    Published by Thomas Nelson

    Albert Pujols and his wife, DeeDee, are amazing people which this book definitely shows. They display their faith in God in many ways, always witnessing, in the way they live, and act, for Him.

    With the statistics Pujols has, he could quit playing baseball right now, and still be in the record books for the rest of time. He works hard to display his God Given talent, never letting up on practice just because he is tired.

    I loved this book, it shows how, even when you are on top, you can be a Nice Guy.
    I did think that the statistics were a bit much, but once I got past those, I cruised right through the rest, enjoying every paragraph.

    I think anyone who loves sports, especially baseball, or just the St. Louis Cardinals would enjoy this book, and be amazed at the talent this young man has, and what he has accomplished.

    I received a copy of this book from BookSneeze, to read and review. No other compensation was given.
    I'm not required to give a favorable review.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    A great player with a relationship to the Greatest

    Why would a girl who doesn't care much for baseball review a book about Albert Pujols, a baseball player? Well, although I'm not a big baseball fan, I am a great fan of good biographies and autobiographies. Additionally, I do love reading about celebrities and their relationships with Christ, because it doesn't seem like Christians in the public eye publicize their faith enough, unless they are specifically in the Christian circle.
    So, as I started reading Pujols: More Than the Game, I was looking forward to reading about Pujols' faith-how he came to it, how he is sharing it, his struggles and his victories in his relationship with God. After all, the book's subtitle is More Than the Game! And even if the book didn't primarily focus on Pujols' faith, I would have hoped for more information on Pujols' life off of the field, like his upbringing and his relationship with his wife and children. That information is just peppered throughout his story, while I feel like it should have played a bigger role-considering the title! What I found though is a book that is very heavy on Pujols' career, and for a girl who doesn't care much about baseball, I found it difficult to get through. In fact, I didn't complete the book at the time of this review, because it was so statistic-heavy.

    Although this book wasn't for me, I think there is a population who would enjoy reading Pujols: More Than the Game. For one, it doesn't hurt if you are a baseball fan. You'd be able to read through the statistics easily without it being dry. Secondly, because I didn't find this book to give a detailed testimony of Pujols' faith (at least by page 69, when I stopped reading), I think a non Christian could enjoy it without feeling like an outsider for not being Christian.

    Overall, I'm glad I had the opportunity to read about Albert Pujols. It sounds like he is one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game. It's encouraging to know that he has a relationship with the Greatest, giving him the right perspective of his own greatness on the baseball field!
    (Plus, I definitely got bonus points from one of my 4th grade male students who thought it was SO cool that I was reading a book about a baseball player!)

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Great book for all baseball lovers!

    Being an avid St. Louis Cardinal's fan, I just couldn't wait to sink my teeth into Pujols: More Than The Game by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth. In this short biography, Lamb and Ellsworth trace the life and baseball career of the great Albert Pujols. However, this biography is unique because it gives an honest depiction of a man with super baseball talent, but who is not ashamed of his faith in Jesus Christ. Pujols is not painted into a super hero saint, but his is shown honestly for his flaws and his spiritual growth, as all believers have to do.

    As you read the compelling story of Pujols rise to baseball greatness, you heart will be touched to discover the side of the man that doesn't get told in the headline. Baseball lovers will be in awe of the unbelievable stats that Pujols has put up over his fisrt10 years in the MLB, but Christ followers will be encouraged as they read about him sharing the love of Christ through selfless humanitarian acts of kindness. This is a great book for Christian baseball lover or possibly a great witnessing tool for a friend who is a seeker who has a love for the game. My only complaint is that the authors keep you hanging at the end, because the rest of this man's great life hasn't been lived yet! Go out and read Pujols.

    Disclosure: I did receive a free review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers, but was not required to write a positive review.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Pujols: More than a Game

    rowds flock the St. Cardinals stadium every year. Not for the hot dogs and pretzels, but to see one man hit a home rome: Albert Pujos. Not only is the the most amazing player, but boy, can he hit home runs! In the book, Pujos More than a Game by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth you can't help but be in awe of this legendary baseball player who ranks up there with the best of the best baseball players.

    In this book, we see a very in depth look at Albert Pujos. Believe me, if you love sports, you want to read this book. Having a husband whose been a St. Louis Cardinal fan since childhood, I knew I wanted to read this book as well as give to my husband as a Valentines Day gift.

    For Albert Pujus, it is more than a game. I can't recommend this book enough to everyone out there!!! I was given this book free to read but give my review with 5 Stars!

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Book Review -- Pujols: More Than The Game

    For review purposes, the Booksneeze program provided me a complimentary copy of the new biography of Albert Pujols, titled Pujols: More Than A Game , authored by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth.

    I finished it and it was a good read. Not great, but good. This book pulls back the curtain, as expected, and reveals some aspects of the life of this young man that I was not aware of. Many of these stories, episodes, and factoids, such as his love for his alcoholic, negligent father, are moving and inspiring. His love for the game of baseball is evident, but he manages to convey in the book that the game is 3rd place in his life, behind his love for his God and his family.


    Repeatedly, we read that Pujols sees baseball as a platform for his message: the saving power of Jesus Christ, and for his three-part mission: evangelism, support for those with Down's Syndrome, and his native country of The Dominican Republic. As we read, we get transported back in time to hear about the poverty in the DR, the subsequent move to New York, a shooting witnessed by a young Pujols, a move to Kansas, and his blossoming talent through high school, junior college, and the minor leagues.



    Like most biographies, this book paints its subject in a very positive, almost saintly light. But to its credit, it exposes some flaws, including some things he said he'd like to take back.


    One drawback to the book, at least from the perspective of a man with a 9-year-old avid reader who's also a baseball fan, is that the story includes a take of promiscuity (not on the part of Pujols) which leads to an out-of-wedlock birth prior to a main character coming to faith in Christ. Were it not for that one chapter, I'd let my son read it, but he's not ready. This is not a criticism or a complaint, of course. The episode is an important part of the life of Pujols, and it would be a crime to leave it out. But it's keeping me from handing this book to my youngster, and that's a shame, because there are a great many more reasons for him to read about the life of Albert Pujols than there are reasons to avoid it. Maybe in a couple of years.

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