A Missouri Baptist
who is a real ‘MVP’
By Allen Palmeri
November 29, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – St. Louis Cardinals fans like Ralph Sawyer, president of the Missouri Baptist Convention, rejoiced with Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols Nov. 15 as he won the National League Most Valuable Player award.
Pujols is a Missouri Southern Baptist who is a member of West County Community Church in Wildwood. It may mark the first time ever that a Missouri Southern Baptist has been named a baseball MVP.
Sawyer, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wentzville, said he appreciates how Pujols plays the game of baseball with courage, humility and determination. Sawyer has noticed that whenever the 25-year-old superstar is given a public platform to speak, he strives to give glory to God.
“He always puts God first, family second and his vocation follows that,” Sawyer said. “We can learn from that. That is a great testimony.
“He does his very best for the glory of God, so he has a tremendous work ethic. He just didn’t get there by just showing up with the talent.”
Pujols earned 378 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to edge Andruw Jones, Atlanta Braves center fielder, for MVP honors. Jones finished with 351 points.
Pujols hit .330 this past season, which was second in the league, with 41 home runs and 117 RBIs. He stepped up as a team leader as well, helping the Cardinals easily win a division championship and nearly win a pennant.
“He not only gives glory to God, but he always recognizes that it’s a team game,” Sawyer said.
Pujols has averaged 40 home runs and 124 RBI, along with a .332 average in his first five major league seasons. Prior to this year, in the last four MVP races, he has finished third, second, second, and fourth, respectively.