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Star On And Off the Diamond

By April 18, 2011 No Comments

In his first ten years in the Major Leagues, Albert Pujols has never hit below .300, he has never hit fewer than 30 home runs and he has never knocked in fewer than 100 runs. No one in the history of Major League Baseball has ever done that in their first ten seasons – not Babe Ruth, not Joe DiMaggio, not Ted Williams.
Pujols was largely overlooked as a high schooler in Kansas City, as he wasn’t drafted until the 13th round of the 1999 MLB Draft. Two years later, he won the NL Rookie of the Year on the strength of a season that saw him hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs
Pujols, a native of the Dominican Republic, is now the idol in the baseball-crazy city of St. Louis. But what is most impressive about Pujols can’t be found between the lines of chalk on a baseball field.
In October 2010, St. Louis rolled out the red carpet for a gala. But the guest of honor was not Pujols. This was a night for teenagers with Down syndrome, there for an annual prom put on by the Pujols Family Foundation.
And when Pujols and his wife Deidre arrived, that’s when the party really began. Every kid wanted to dance with him, and he never said no. By the end of the evening, he looked like he had just finished a doubleheader in August.
Down syndrome is something that became part of Pujols’ life when he and Deirdre got married in 2000. Deirdre’s daughter, Isabella, was born with Down syndrome.
When Pujols is not crushing fastballs in the major leagues, there’s a good chance you’ll find him in the Dominican Republic, where he makes an effort to make a difference in just about any way possible, whether it be providing healthcare, mattresses, or of course, baseball diamonds.
He says his devotion comes right out of his religion. He is devout, and as straight-laced as they come in baseball. He doesn’t smoke or drink. When asked if he curses, he admitted, laughing, “Once in awhile.”
Baseball has lost some of its allure over the last decade because of steroids. And more than a few people look at Pujols and ask: can he be that good and totally clean?
But he’s never failed a drug test and has said he’s willing to be tested every day. He stands by that statement.
Check out the full story on “60 Minutes.”
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7362328n

Jones Bob

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