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Albert Pujols Celebrity Golf Classic 2011

July 8, 2011

Pujols hosts ninth annual Celebrity Golf Classic

By Matthew Leach / MLB.com

ST. LOUIS — When you’ve got pull, you’ve got pull. Albert Pujols is a big deal in the city where he’s spent the past 11 years as a superstar slugger. So big, it seems, that even Mother Nature takes care of Pujols.

A day after sweltering, stifling heat covered the St. Louis area, a cloudy, cooler day dawned on Monday. It was a perfect setup for the ninth annual Albert Pujols Celebrity Golf Classic at the Country Club of St. Albans.

Even if it had been typically steamy, though, Pujols’ event would have been a big deal. More than 60 celebrities were slated to appear, a group that included plenty of current and former Cardinals, but also plenty of other luminaries. Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter and Yadier Molina highlighted the current Redbirds, with Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, hitting coach Mark McGwire and Al Hrabosky among the ex-Cards.

As for outside the Cardinals family, there were plenty of big names as well. Former baseball greats Dale Murphy, Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry and Bo Jackson joined actor Dennis Haysbert, Harlem Globetrotters legend Meadowlark Lemon and St. Louis Blues head coach Davis Payne among the attendees.

The tournament is an essential fundraiser for the Pujols Family Foundation, which does work benefiting kids with Down Syndrome in the St. Louis area, as well as youngsters who live in poverty in Pujols’ native Dominican Republic.

“It’s been amazing,” Pujols said prior to the start of the tournament. “Nine years — it seems like yesterday and it’s already nine years. It’s awesome, the money that we have raised. We can’t do it without fans and sponsors and the people that support our foundation.

“Through that we’ve been able to do a lot of great things — like going down to the Dominican Republic with doctors and dentists, do a mission trip, doing a lot of great things. We are blessed to have all of those people be a part of our team.”

Following the golf tournament was an auction to raise more funds for the foundation. This year, the plan is to make two trips to the Dominican, rather than the single trip Pujols and/or the foundation have typically taken. Todd Perry, who heads up the Pujols Family Foundation, will visit the Dominican in September. Then in November, Pujols and former teammate Mike Matheny have a special trip planned.

“[Matheny] is going to bring a baseball team, and we’re going to try to match it up a little bit,” Pujols said. “It’s going to be a great experience for those kids. They have the little league. That’s the league that we set up a year and a half ago.”

Pujols addressed reporters with his wife, Deidre, at his side before heading out to help facilitate the event. He was smiling all the while.

“This is one of the bigger events we do during the year, and we’re always looking forward to it,” he said.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Date:
July 8, 2011
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