Let me start by saying, I'm no fan of baseball. It's not really that I dislike it - I just can take it or leave it, and most of the time, I choose to leave it. I live in a big baseball city - St Louis - and I've even gone to several Cardinals games, and I've watched a game in Yankee's stadium… Still not going out of my way to watch the sport. To illustrate, all of the games I've been to, my ticket was free.
That said, I do appreciate a great sports story, some of my favorite movies are sports movies, and one of the best real-life sports stories that is happening right now in my own city, is the story of Albert Pujols of the Saint Louis Cardinals. No, I'm not referring to the controversial contract negotiations. I'm referring to a nice family guy who goes to church, is faithful to his wife, doesn't do drugs, and is the undisputed NL MVP time and time again. You see, Albert Pujols, the homerun leader of the Cards, is a Christian, a true, practicing, converted, Christ-following Christian.
Which is why when I was given the chance to get a copy of a book on the life - so far - of Mr. Pujols, I didn't hesitate. Much like my baseball tickets, my copy of this book was free to me, the publisher asked me to review it. The book is called "Pujols - More Than the Game" it was written by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth, and published by Thomas Nelson.
The book has everything you'd expect in a book about a baseball player, overall stats and a recount of awards and accomplishments. But, as the title suggests, it's not just about baseball, in fact, more of the book is devoted to his home life than his life at home plate. Following Albert from his childhood in the Dominican Republic through his meteroic rise to the heights of success in the sports world, the reader learns about his contagious love of Christ, and how that passion for Jesus has spread to his whole family, to people on his team, and to the fans.
"Pujols - More Than the Game" is an inspiring story of someone who isn't perfect, but is true to his Savior and successful in the secular world. Too many times we are told of Christians who are true to God through their adversity, we often forget that Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to be a Christian. In Albert Pujols, we see a man who is able to have success in this life, and still is laying up treasure in Heaven. And as Albert would be quick to point out, the glory goes to Jesus Christ, and not to Albert, for his success on the field and off.
I would recommend this book for any baseball fan, and if you know a baseball fan who isn't a Christian, this book may be a way to start the conversation about becoming one. Make no mistake, it's not a bible tract. There's no "plan of salvation" page or Romans Road list of verses to follow. But I can easily see a lost person wanting to know more about Jesus after reading this book.
It's also convicting to Christians, at least it is to me, if someone wrote a book about my life story - would it be just as much of a draw to the Savior as this book is?
My review, 4 out of 5 stars.
If you'd like to pick up a copy of "Pujols: More Than the Game" - here are some places to find it, learn more, and read other people's reviews:
- "Pujols: More Than the Game" on Amazon
- "Pujols: More Than the Game" on Thomas Nelson (the publisher)