Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth have given baseball fans a fascinating look into the life of a sports icon, Albert Pujols. In their book, Pujols: More Than The Game, we get to see the man behind the player. Albert Pujols is something of an enigma for many fans because he just doesn’t make headlines off the field. Unlike Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez who date supermodels and actresses or other players in the news for more unsavory activities, Pujols isn’t someone in the limelight except when he is at the plate. Lamb and Ellsworth go behind the player to look at what makes Albert Pujols tick and also why you don’t hear about him in the news: his deep faith in Christ.
I can think of few men who look more intimidating at the plate than Albert Pujols. Even if you didn’t know much about him you can tell by looking at him that he can crush a baseball. What I didn’t know was how deeply his faith impacts his life and that was what made Pujols a fun read for me. As a Christian and a baseball fan, this book was an interesting look at what goes on behind the scenes in the life of sports celebrities. All most of us know about Albert is that he is one of the most dangerous and most consistent hitters in the game but when the authors peel back the game and show you Pujols you see a man who came to faith at the same time he came to fame and he has done a pretty good job balancing the two. A preternaturally talented hitter who saw some 400 young men drafted before him, Pujols has a drive that makes him great and he applies that same drive to his faith.
The book is a bit repetitive at times, swinging back and forth between recountings of an Albert Pujol’s at bat or the details of a game and anecdotes about how important his faith is to him. It is not an especially deep or challenging book. If you have the time and some solitude it is easily an afternoon read or a book to occupy you while sitting through a layover in an airport. That doesn’t mean it is a bad book, not at all. It is a fun read although if you are not a sports fan it might be a tough one to work through because of all of the sports talk and baseball lingo.
The biggest thing that came out of this book for me was learning a lot about the background of one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game and how deeply his faith impact who he is. For me Albert Pujols has long been a sports icon and someone you really want to be able to draft in your fantasy baseball league but now I see him as something far more, a complicated and flawed man but more importantly a brother in Christ. I am looking forward to playing a few innings with Albert in eternity!
If you are someone who not only loves Christ but also loves baseball (although not in the same way of course!), this is a great summertime book, something to read when there isn’t a game on!
(I received this book for free in return for an unbiased review from Thomas Nelson books as part of their Booksneeze program!)