I majored in Biblical Greek in college. By the time I got to my senior year, there were four of us in a class taught by one of my favorite people on earth (Dr. George Guthrie) in which we “exegeted” Paul’s letter in the New Testament of the Bible called “Philippians.” One of the guys in the class, whom I have always had deep respect for, was Tim Ellsworth. He now works for our alma mater, Union University, and has recently co-authored a book about Albert Pujols.
I emailed Tim to ask him if I could do a short blog interview with him about the book and about why he wanted to write on Pujols (besides the fact that he plays for Tim’s beloved St. Louis Cardinals). I think you will find the questions and his responses interesting. You can read them below.
Grateful for a guy in the spotlight like Pujols, living sent for all to see the Sent One.
ME: So, are you a St. Louis Cardinal fan or something?
TIM: Yeah, I grew up in and around St. Louis, and my dad is a lifelong Cardinals fan, so I think I was predestined to be one. They’ve been my love affair for pretty much my whole life.
ME: Why write about Albert Pujols?
TIM: He’s got a great story. He grew up in poverty in the baseball-obsessed Dominican Republic, then moved to the United States with his family as a teenager. He excelled in baseball in both high school and college, and yet inexplicably fell to the 13th round of the baseball draft in 1999. From there he spent only one year in the minor leagues before becoming one of the best players ever. So the baseball story in and of itself is compelling. But what’s even better is that Pujols is a devout follower of Christ, and he uses his celebrity to make a difference for the Lord.
ME: Why did Tim Ellsworth get to write about Pujols?
TIM: Because my college roommate and co-author Scott Lamb asked me to work with him on the project. I had a few baseball contacts over the years that certainly helped with getting the interviews we needed.
ME: Three lessons you learned in the process of writing this book?
TIM: This has proven a difficult question for me to answer. I can’t say that these are the most important things, but here’s what comes to mind:
- There’s always room for improvement, but sometimes meeting a deadline is more important than perfecting your prose.
- Be flexible and open to correction. Your writing is not perfect.
- When working on a project of this magnitude, don’t hesitate to ask your friends and fellow church members for prayer.
ME: One of the most memorable stories about Pujols in the process of writing this book?
TIM: Adam Wainwright told a fascinating story about Pujols’ generosity in buying Wainwright an expensive painting. Wainwright was only in his second year in the big leagues and wasn’t about to spend $5,000 on a painting, but Pujols insisted on buying it for him. “You’re going to let me buy that painting for you,” Pujols told him, “or you’re going to Triple-A.” It shows Pujols’ sense of humor as well.
ME: Where is baseball in Pujols’ list of life priorities? Why would you say that?
TIM: I’d place baseball third, behind his relationship with Christ and his family. You could make a case that baseball is even fourth, behind Pujols’ concern for those less fortunate, but I’ll consider his generosity to them to be a result of his relationship with Christ.
ME: Your all-time, any-era, best players ever baseball team? (one player for each position, including DH and relief pitcher)?
1B: Lou Gehrig (Pujols may surpass him by the time his career is over)
2B: Rogers Hornsby
3B: Mike Schmidt
SS: Honus Wagner
CF: Ty Cobb
RF: Babe Ruth
LF: Ted Wiliams
C: Yogi Berra
SP: Walter Johnson
RP: Mariano Rivera
ME: Ball park you most want to go to? Ball park you most want to go back to?
TIM: I’ve always wanted to go to Fenway, but haven’t had the chance to. I’ve been to Wrigley several times but always welcome an opportunity to return, even though the stadium is home to the stinking Cubs.
ME: Union University is our alma mater. Tell the people reading this why it’s the best university on earth? 🙂
TIM: Wow, there are so many things I could say. For starters, Union is a place that is driven by the pursuit of excellence in all things, is devoted to Christ, His Word and His church, and is a community where people genuinely care about one another. Our president, Dr. Dockery, is one of the finest men I know and is a model of what a Christian leader should be. It’s an honor to be a graduate and an employee of Union.
Thanks Tim. Grateful for you. And grateful you did not write your book in Greek.