ST LOUIS, MO – As I sit down to write, it is somewhat ironic that Spring Training for Major League Baseball is about to begin. This story is about how Jesus Christ transformed All-Star first-baseman Albert Pujols just before he started his major league career.
For those unfamiliar with Pujols, his baseball stats put him in an elite position amongst players and former players. His batting average is .300; he has more than 3,200 hits, 2,075 RBIs, and 656 home runs. He is a 10-time All-Star, 3-time National League MV, and 2-time World Series champion. He began his major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001 and has been with the Los Angeles Angels since 2011.
Some fans are stat fanatics. Me? I like to know other things like “What does the first baseman say to a runner who has made it safely to first?”
I don’t know what other first basemen say, but I know what Albert Pujols says. He always looks at the opposing player and asks, “What is most important to you?” He asks because the question – and the answer – open the door to talking to the runner about Jesus. Getting the runner to think about their eternal home is more important for Albert than preventing him from advancing to home plate.
“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. 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.”
In 2005, Albert and his wife, Deidre, founded the Pujols Family Foundation, an outreach focused on sharing the love of Jesus with others. In particular, they reach out to families in his native Dominican Republic (where half of the children live in dire poverty) and to children and adults afflicted with Down Syndrome. It may seem like a strange combination but the Pujols also have a daughter with Down Syndrome.
Some have questioned why the Pujols Family Foundation mission is “Faith, Family, and Others.” Albert’s answer?
“The answer simply is because our faith in Jesus Christ is the central point of our individual lives, our marriage, family, and Foundation. Take Jesus Christ and faith in Him out of the equation and all those other things would not exist.”
The Pujols Family Foundation currently assists the poverty-stricken communities of Batey Aleman, Batey de Las Pajas, Batey Alta Gracia, Batey Experimental, Batey Bienvenido, Batey Hondonado and Batey Palave.
In the realm of Down Syndrome, the foundation strives to “promote awareness and provide hope . . . for the families and children who live with Down syndrome.”
The 501 (c) (3)foundation partners with other like-minded groups to help make a real difference in the lives of thousands of children and their families.
The strength of the family’s faith and work can be easily recognized by reading the foundation’s Statement of Faith, which is one of the finest this writer has ever read anywhere.
Although Albert has experienced many changes throughout his life on his path from poverty to professional baseball, he explains that . . .
“What has not changed is my love for Jesus Christ. In the spring of 1998, my soon to be wife, Deidre, began sharing with me the love of Jesus. My most exciting moment came when I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life. If it weren’t for Jesus, I would not be where I am today, and my life would be without purpose. I’ve heard kids say they want to be just like me when they grow up. They should know I want to be just like Jesus.”
Want to learn more about Albert? Take a few minutes to watch him share his testimony in this video.
To read more news on Christian Living on Missions Box, go here.
- The Pujols Family Foundation, Official Website
- The Baptist Messenger, All-Star Pujols anchored by faith
- I am Second, Albert Pujols
Image Source: Marianne O’Leary, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Video Source: Albert Pujols – White Chair Film – I Am Second®, YouTube