Friday, June 10, 2005


I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, home of Anheuser-Busch, during the Kennedy administration. My life has seen five Popes (John 23, Paul 6, JP 1, JP 2, and Benedict 16), nine presidents (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush), and 41 World Series (you can look them up yourself). I just missed Stan Musial's career--in 1964 he retired to make room for Lou Brock.

Finally, I have a player I will drop anything to watch bat.

Yesterday, Albert Pujols hosted a golf tournament for Down's Syndrome kids. It raised a lot of money. In the middle of a week of typically violent St. Louis thunderstorms, God stood watch over the course hosting Prince Albert's fundraiser. Not a drop fell, though trees fell all around.

If you're not a baseball fan, Catholic, and sickeningly sentimental, you might not understand the way my heart flutters when my youngest son asks, "Dad, is Albert Pujols the greatest Cardinal you've ever seen?"

I say, "He could be."

He says, "I guess he's like Stan Musial for Grandpa."

Yeah. Stan or Enos Slaughter or Harry "the hat" Walker. (My dad's pretty old.)

It' so rare that a fan of a team gets to see a legend born, but that's how it is for Cardinal fans with Pujols. He's a gift from God for baseball fans, a man of unshakable faith who avoids the press because, in his words, "they don't understand who hits through me." Or should I write, " . . . Who hits through me."

It might seem silly to thank God for a baseball player, a millionaire. But in Pujols's dedication, faith, and achievement, we see the hand the God. Not because God is a Cardinal fan (though everyone knows He is), but because God is perfection--and Pujols stives for that.

If you've never seen him play, do so. He will be a legend.