Pujols- Whatta Guy!

Readers of the Zealot probably know that despite my Cub fandom, Albert Pujols is one of my favorite players in the MLB. 

I just read something that made me like him even more. 

He’s been chosen as St Louis nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.  And that’s not the only reason for my newfound respect for him.  It’s his understanding of Clemente and who he was.  Too many players these days, have no clue who their predecessors were nor do they really care. 

Not Pujols.  He gives a crap. 

“He was a great player, but he was a better person off the field,” said Pujols, who is the Cardinals’ nominee for the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award. “There were so many things that he did, not only for Latin America, but everybody that needed help. He has a good reputation that he did a lot of great things through his career. It’s too bad it was cut short.

“He was just a great person. I wish he was alive right now because I’m pretty sure he would be enriching those people right now who really need help. That’s what’s good about it, that we learn about it. He opened those doors to us, to reach those people out there that need our help. That’s what I’m trying to do, follow in his footsteps.”


I’d like to see more players with that kind of understanding of the players who came before them.  As for why he his being nominated:


Pujols is actively involved with the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis, heading up several fundraisers. This year will be the fourth year that he kicks off the “Buddy Walk” at Busch Stadium, and he will catch a ceremonial first pitch from a participant. Remarkably, every year to date, Pujols has hit a home run the day of the Buddy Walk.

This year, however, the slugger has taken it to another plane. He and his wife, Deidre, established the Pujols Family Foundation, which has the stated mission “to live and share our commitment to faith, family and others.” For the time being, the foundation has set its sights on the St. Louis area, but it has long-term plans to make its presence felt in Pujols’ native Dominican Republic as well.

 The Pujols Family Foundation’s first fundraiser, a golf tournament, was held June 9 at Missouri Bluffs Golf Club in St. Charles, Mo. In addition, Pujols has pledged to build a baseball stadium in the Dominican Republic, and has recorded public service announcements for Down Syndrome Association and for Special Olympics.

Pujols has donated $52,500 to the Down Syndrome Association, $20,000 to Zoe Ministries and $20,000 to West County Community Church from awards that he received over the past few years, including the National League’s Outstanding Player Award and the NL Rookie of the Year Award back in 2001.

Each year, Pujols joins his teammates in delivering teddy bears to young fans at Cardinal Glennon Hospital. Each player purchases teddy bears from the St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and autographs specially made Cardinals T-shirts for the bears to wear as they are handed out to young fans at the hospital.

A cynic would say that a man with his means should give back to his community and it shouldn’t be a big deal.  But the sad fact is many don’t.  And it seems to me Pujols is going above and beyond the norm. 

Nice going, AP.




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