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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  April 10, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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>> kroft: five years ago, the f.b.i. announced that it was reopening more than 100 unsolved murder cases from the civil rights era of the 1950s and '60s. the goal of the cold case initiative was to try and mete out justice in what seemed to be racially motivated killings that were never prosecuted. not many 50-year-old cold cases ever get solved. memories fade, evidence is lost, witnesses and suspects die or disappear. but that's not the case in the death of louis allen, a mostly forgotten but historically significant murder that helped bring thousands of white college students to mississippi in the freedom summer of 1964. the murder is still unsolved, but the case has never quite gone away, because the chief suspect is very much alive and walking the streets of a town called liberty. liberty, mississippi, is a small rural logging town not far from
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the louisiana border. the fbi believes that some people here have been keeping a dark secret for nearly 50 years, from one of the ugliest periods in the state's history. >> you will not be allowed to proceed past this point today. >> kroft: it was a time when civil rights activists were beaten and arrested, when state and local politics were controlled by all-white citizens' councils, and when people like louis allen were murdered in cold blood, without redress. you keep a photo of louis allen on your desk? >> cynthia deitle: i do. >> kroft: why? >> deitle: the case bothers me. i feel like we failed, and not just the f.b.i., but law enforcement. >> kroft: cynthia deitle is a 15-year veteran of the f.b.i.'s civil rights division, and until a few weeks ago, was in charge of the cold case initiative. of the 100 unsolved racially- motivated murders she's been charged with investigating, none has been more promising or frustrating than louis allen's. >> deitle: somebody knows something.
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some husband came home with bloody clothing. someone got drunk in a bar and said what he was doing last night. someone knows something. >> kroft: but in the early 1960s, people in and around liberty knew to keep their mouths shut. a violent chapter of the ku klux klan used cross burnings, abductions and murder to enforce the doctrine of white supremacy and to intimidate the black population, most of which lived in shacks with no electricity or plumbing, and were not allowed to vote. civil rights leaders like robert moses, who came south to help them register, were frequently the target of violence. >> bob moses: liberty was not a place that i liked to go. >> kroft: why? >> moses: because it was a place where you weren't safe if you were doing voter registration work. >> kroft: it was in liberty that moses met louis allen, a rough- hewn world war ii veteran who walked proud and was not afraid to stand up for himself. he ran a small timber business, was one of the few blacks in liberty to own his own land, and always wore a hat, which he
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considered a sign of self- respect. he was not the type to seek out trouble; robert moses says it found him. >> moses: he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. he saw something that happened, and he was deeply disturbed and affected by that. and so, he had a basic life decision to make. >> kroft: on september 25, 1961, allen was walking past this old cotton gin when he saw something that likely got him killed. louis allen witnessed a powerful state legislator by the name of e.h. hurst shoot and kill an unarmed black man named herbert lee. allen told his friends and family that he and other eyewitnesses had been pressured into lying about the shooting, and to saying that it was self- defense. later, allen decided that he needed to tell the truth. one of the people louis allen told it to was julian bond, who was trying to register black voters in mississippi for the student non-violent coordinating
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committee. he would later become a legendary civil rights leader. >> julian bond: this was not a self-defense action by the state representative. this was out and out murder. that's all it was. but louis allen agreed to lie about that. >> kroft: why do you think he lied? >> bond: he lied because he was in fear of his life. if he had implicated a powerful white man in a murder of a black man, that he was risking his life. >> kroft: did you encourage him to tell the truth? >> bond: i tried to encourage him to tell the truth but, you know, it was like saying, "why don't you volunteer to be killed? >> kroft: but allen's wife would later testify that "his conscience was clipping him," and he decided to tell f.b.i. agents and the u.s. commission on civil rights what really happened at the cotton gin. this document from f.b.i. files says, "allen changed his story" and "expressed fear that he might be killed." he asked for protection, but none was provided. almost immediately, word began circulating in liberty that louis allen was prepared to change his testimony.
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>> deitle: he was threatened as a result of the fact that he was going to change his statement and that he did change his statement. >> kroft: and the f.b.i. was notified of those threats? >> deitle: yes. >> kroft: did the f.b.i. do anything? >> deitle: yes. we referred that to local law enforcement authorities. >> kroft: it's certainly possible to conclude that local law enforcement people were the ones behind the threats? >> deitle: there is a theory out there that that speaks to that, yes. >> kroft: in fact, it's been the prevailing theory for some time, although the f.b.i. cannot officially confirm it. there is a 1961 reference in the f.b.i. file to a report that "allen was to be killed, and the local sheriff was involved in the plot to kill him." and we found this 1962 letter from robert moses to assistant attorney general john doar alleging the same thing-- "they're after him in amite county," it says, and makes reference to "a plot by the sheriff and seven other men." he was afraid of the sheriff's department. >> deitle: i think he was, yes. >> kroft: and i think he was afraid of the klan, although
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they seemed to be sort of the same thing in liberty at this time. >> deitle: i'm not sure i can say that. >> kroft: julian bond was less circumspect. >> bond: the law enforcement, you suspected they were members. if you wanted to be a mayor, a city councilman, a county commissioner, the sheriff, if you wanted to be on the legislature, you had to have some connection with the klan. >> kroft: and in the amite county sheriff's department, the person with the best connection was deputy sheriff daniel jones. his father was the "exalted cyclops" of the local klan, and jones himself, according to this f.b.i. document we found, was suspected of being a klan member. jones, who is alive and still resides in liberty, was recently visited by fbi agents who wanted him to take a lie detector test. what was he like? >> hank allen: well, mean. >> kroft: hank allen was 17 years old when his father was killed, and he remembers daniel jones as his main tormentor. he says he watched jones harass and repeatedly arrest his father on trumped-up charges, and one night, beat him outside their
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home. >> allen: and he had handcuffed him, told him he was under arrest. so daddy asked for his hat. told daddy, "no, you can't go get your hat." daddy said, "well, my son is on the porch. can he bring me my hat?" he drawed back, he took a flashlight, and he struck my daddy and broke his jawbone, handcuffed. >> kroft: when he got out of jail, louis allen did something that was unheard of for a black man in mississippi-- he went to the f.b.i. and lodged a complaint against deputy sheriff jones and testified before a federal grand jury. the case was thrown out, and the situation in liberty continued to deteriorate. >> allen: they stopped selling daddy gas in the town. they stopped buying his logs. they just more or less just tried to blackball him. >> deitle: it got to the point, the harassment and just him not being able to survive in liberty, that he decided to leave and to go work in another state. and it's the night before he is due to leave that he is killed.
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>> kroft: louis allen was ambushed here on a cold night in january, 1964, after getting out of his truck to open the cattle gate that led to his property. his son, hank, was the one who found him. >> allen: i didn't know why he would park the truck in the middle of the driveway and leave it like that. and i climbed up in the truck. the headlights was real dim. and when i went to step down out the truck, i stepped on something. and that's when i stepped on my... my daddy's hand. he was lying up under the truck. >> kroft: he was killed with two blasts of deer shot to the head. the investigating officer was none other than the newly elected sheriff, daniel jones, who hank said made it clear to the family why his father had been murdered. >> allen: he told my mom that if louis had just shut his mouth that he wouldn't be laying there on the ground. he wouldn't be dead. >> kroft: you think sheriff jones did it? >> allen: yes, indeed. by all means. if he didn't do it, he was the entrepreneur of it. >> kroft: jones told the newspapers he was unable to find a single clue.
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how would you characterize the investigation that sheriff jones conducted? >> deitle: he did not develop any fingerprints, any physical evidence, and he never developed any suspects. >> kroft: not a great investigation. >> deitle: probably could have done more. >> kroft: and the same might be said about the fbi at the time. it had limited jurisdiction over civil rights murders and little inclination to investigate them. in fact, it's not clear that anyone investigated louis allen's murder until 1994, when plater robinson, a historian at the southern institute at tulane university, began digging into it. >> plater robinson: from day one in liberty, people told me that daniel jones and a colored man killed louis allen. >> kroft: robinson has spent 17 years combing through archives and tracking down people to interview. one of them was an elderly preacher named alfred knox. knox told robinson in a 1998 tape-recorded conversation that his son-in-law, archie
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weatherspoon, was with sheriff daniel jones when allen was murdered. >> alfred knox: my son-in-law went with him. >> robinson: to kill louis allen? >> knox: to kill louis allen. he didn't know where he was going till he got in the car. and he said, "would you pull the trigger? would you shoot him?" he said, "no, i ain't going to do it." that what my son-in-law said. "i ain't going to shoot him. you come out here to kill him, you kill him." so he killed him. >> kroft: both knox and his son- in-law took their stories to the grave. but plater robinson says the answer to who killed louis allen can still be found in liberty. >> robinson: a lot of people are dead. but there are still a number of significant people still alive. >> kroft: like who, besides sheriff jones? >> robinson: well, charles ravencraft, he lives down the road, and he's quite healthy. >> kroft: we found charles ravencraft at the liberty drug store presiding over a coffee klatch of old-timers, some of whom were around when louis allen was murdered.
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>> charles ravencraft: people in this area, they just don't do much talking. >> kroft: for years, ravencraft was sergeant-at-arms of the mississippi legislature, and at the time of louis allen's murder, vice president of the americans for the preservation of the white race in liberty, a front group for the ku klux klan. was it around, charles? >> ravencraft: what's that? >> kroft: the klan? >> ravencraft: sure. they were here. >> kroft: were any of you guys in it? >> ravencraft: it wouldn't have been a klan if you don't tell everybody what your business was. >> kroft: ravencraft indicated that he hadn't lost much sleep over louis allen's murder, and told us he had no idea who killed him. >> ravencraft: no, i don't. he lived a lot longer than i thought he'd have lived. that's the kind of fella he was. he was a little bit overbearing. i don't think that civil rights had anything to do with it. >> kroft: winbourne sullivan wasn't around when louis allen was killed, but he ran the liberty drug store for 36 years. >> winbourne sullivan: i think there are people who know what
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happened and who did it, but they're not willing to talk about it. and they won't talk about it. you'll never find out. >> kroft: they told us they don't see much of former sheriff daniel jones these days. he spends most of his time on his property, just off the state highway. we decided to approach him with our cameras concealed on the off-chance he might give something up. after waiting for a half an hour on the porch, he rolled up in an all-terrain vehicle with his wife. my name is steve kroft. how you doing? we're from "60 minutes" in new york. we're down here working on a story, on an old case of yours, and was wondering if you'd have some time to talk to us about. >> daniel jones: no, sir, i don't believe so. >> kroft: you don't think so? >> jones: no, sir. >> kroft: the louis allen case? >> jones: yeah, i know what you're talking about. >> kroft: he was polite and cordial. said he didn't want to talk, but he kept on talking. there was some bad blood between you and... and louis, right? >> jones: there was not no bad blood between us. apparently... i'm talking more
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than i need to, but the truth sometimes has a way of slipping out if you try to keep it covered up. >> kroft: were you in the klan? >> jones: well, i won't answer that. i take the fifth on that. >> kroft: jones confirmed that the f.b.i. had already been there asking some of the same questions. >> jones: i told you i don't care to discuss it, and you just keep coming with your educated approach. >> kroft: no, it's not my educated approach. look, you haven't told me to get off your property. i just... answer me one last question. >> jones: okay, be sure it's the last one. >> kroft: can you look me in the eye and say you weren't involved in it? >> jones: no, sir, i wasn't involved in it. >> kroft: well, you know, sheriff, you could clear this up with a lie detector test. >> jones: well, then it ain't going to get cleared up. >> deitle: the theory that sheriff jones killed louis allen has been in the public domain for quite some time. the f.b.i. would be remiss in our duties if we did not pursue that theory. >> kroft: and it's still just a theory, a circumstantial case
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based on motive, suspicions, hearsay, and the words of dead people. there's no forensic evidence, no murder weapon, no eyewitnesses, and only one fbi agent working the case, part-time. >> deitle: my name is cynthia deitle. >> kroft: at a town hall meeting in nearby baton rouge, deitle tried to shake out some new leads and enlist journalists, activists and students to help the f.b.i. solve the murder. but there were some in the audience who still mistrust the f.b.i. and think the cold case initiative is little more than public relations. >> allen: there's been nothing did. there's been not one arrest, there's been all kind of investigations made. and i hate to say things like this, because the f.b.i. is the only help i got. >> kroft: should the f.b.i. be doing more? >> bond: of course, they should be doing more. you know, thank god for these people who are doing it, but we can't turn law enforcement over to journalists. we can't turn it over to academics. we can't depend on some guy at tulane to tell us who's killing people in mississippi. come on. >> kroft: why are you relying on
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reporters and professors? this is the most powerful law enforcement agency in the country. you have subpoena power. >> deitle: we do. we have resources that we could bring to bear on any case. >> kroft: why don't you bring them? >> deitle: they have been. but i've learned, in these cases, that a witness, a family member may be more comfortable talking to you than she would be talking to me. >> kroft: for hank allen, the time to solve his father's killing was 47 years ago. he believes the people who know what happened, black and white, would rather forget it now, and that the wall of silence and the passage of time have granted immunity to those he thinks are responsible. >> allen: here's a guy, goes on living his normal life, enjoying life. but they feel as though we're doing something wrong by saying something about the murder. in other words, "you should be quiet about that.
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wouldn't it be nice to take a deep breath and relax? ask a financial professional about pacific life. the power to help you succeed. >> safer: we are about to visit a place few people have seen firsthand-- the vatican library, a vast collection of historic treasures beyond compare,
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founded over five centuries ago when europe was coming out of the dark ages, a period of so- called humanism when the catholic church was open to new ideas in philosophy, science, and the human spirit. it's the pope's library, but it contains much more than just church documents. there are manuscripts going back nearly 2,000 years on music and math, warfare and exploration, even cookbooks and love letters. the library is closed to the public; a place for scholars only. but the vatican agreed to let us in to see some of the priceless artifacts of our collective past. welcome to the 15th century. in rome, turn a corner and you bump into antiquity, a delicious mixed salad of present and past. we arrived at the vatican to find a medieval costume parade in progress.
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what better way to begin a trek through history. >> timothy janz: there's about two million printed books. >> safer: two million printed books. and inside the library, the past surrounded us again, as we were shown the magnificent building and its riches. >> janz: this is the urbino bible. >> safer: for instance, this spectacular bible, commissioned in 1476 by the duke of urbino... >> janz: ...who wanted to have a very fancy bible. >> safer: there you go. >> janz: and this is what he got. >> safer: library curator timothy janz tells us the bible took years to make by hand, letter by letter, picture by picture. >> janz: decorated with real gold. >> safer: it's just one of the library's 80,000 handwritten manuscripts from the ages before the printing press. add to that those two million or so printed books, christian and pagan, sacred and profane, in virtually every language known to man.
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there are thousands of prints and drawings, windows on the past. and a huge collection of ancient coins-- this was the money of palestine 2,000 years ago-- including the kind of silver coins judas was said to have been paid to betray christ. here is a map of the world, drawn 50 years before columbus; at its edge, the towers of paradise. and an immediate best seller, columbus' description of his voyage to the new world, published in 1493. in a certain way, the library is kind of the attic of western civilization. >> father michael collins: it's so true. and it's like many attics, you know? you put things up all the time. you keep on pushing over boxes to make space for more things. >> safer: father michael collins is an irish priest who's written extensively about the vatican,
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where the library's shelves, if you put them end to end, would stretch for 31 miles. is there anyone, any single person who really knows what the library holds? >> collins: nobody knows exactly what's there, because it will be impossible for the human brain to understand, to remember the titles, who wrote it, when they were written. >> monsignor cesare pasini: it is quite a treasure of humanity that you have here. >> safer: monsignor cesare pasini presides over the library. its great hall-- essentially unchanged over the centuries-- is a picture gallery of antiquity: saints, philosophers, and depictions of the great libraries of the pre-christian world-- babylon, athens, alexandria. a shrine to learning and to books. there's one person who can actually take a book out of the library, correct? >> pasini: yes, the pope can...
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can have every book in the library. ♪ ♪ >> safer: if st. peter's basilica represents the splendor of the church writ large, the library nearby is a testament to the monks and scribes who made magnificent miniatures in times past. here, some devotional music commissioned by pope leo x, and the text of the christmas mass, used at the altar by alexander vi-- both manuscripts five centuries old, written on parchment, treated animal skin. >> christopher celenza: you will often see the skin of sheep being used, sometimes goats. >> safer: christopher celenza, director of the american academy in rome, is a scholar who's often used the library. he says that writing on parchment was not only tedious, but expensive.
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>> celenza: if a monastery wanted to produce a bible that perhaps had 400 pages, it might cost you 400 sheep. it's an investment. >> safer: beyond the academic work, did you ever just come here to hang out and flip through stuff and see what you might discover? >> celenza: i think all of us have come here, at one time or another, with the hope of discovering something, having a general direction in which we're going, but not quite knowing where we'll wind up. >> safer: you might find, as curator adalbert roth showed us, drawings of a german jousting tournament in 1481, or an old cookbook, telling us that roman foodies in the fourth century dined on chicken, veal, seafood, pancakes in milk, and whipped pear cake. >> janz: how to hack away at your enemy's wall... >> safer: or, from an 11th- century treatise on the art of war, a byzantine soldier brandishing a flame thrower,
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something the greeks invented 1,500 years earlier... or henry viii's love letters to anne boleyn. >> collins: the letters are certainly among the most bizarre and unusual that you'd expect to find in the pope's archives. >> safer: there are 17 of them, handwritten by the king of england to the woman he would make the second of his six wives, and later have beheaded. >> adalbert roth: there's the little heart... >> safer: henry signs his name with a heart, like a smitten schoolboy. he tells of his "fervents of love", his great loneliness without her. "wishing myself," he says, "in my sweetheart's arms, whose pretty dukkys i trust shortly to kiss," "dukkys" being a term in henry's day for... well, use your imagination. what is that doing in the vatican library? >> collins: we don't know how they ended up here in the vatican. it may be that some spy, maybe one of my priestly predecessors,
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may have stolen these letters and brought them to rome to present in the case if a trial was made for henry's request for a divorce. >> safer: but the church refused to let henry divorce catherine of aragon so he could marry anne. he married her anyway, broke with rome, and took control of the church of england. the country was largely converted to the protestant faith. >> celenza: this is one of the moments in the 16th century that leads to the fracturing of christianity, and to much of the bloodshed and the wars that, century was known for. especially, the later 16th century was known for. >> safer: as man explored the planet, a scientific revolution was also under way. by the mid-17th century, navigators had mapped much of the world in remarkable detail. >> roth: rio de janiero. cuzco. mexico city. >> safer: galileo turned his
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eyes and his telescope on the heavens. here, from 1612, are his drawings of sunspots. for his insistence that the sun is the center of the universe and the earth moves around it, the church branded him a heretic. >> collins: the pope at that time, pope urban viii, was a very good friend of galileo. said to him, "look, you know, i agree with you. you're right. but i can't approve of this because i'm the pope. and if i go against this, it looks as if i'm going against the bible. and i'm going to shake to the foundation the belief of the world, and the world's christians, not just catholics." >> safer: just 380 years later, in 1992, pope john paul ii apologized for the galileo affair. his successor, benedict xvi, has sought middle ground in the centuries-old skirmishes between the church and science. in a recent sermon, he said even the big bang theory of the
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creation of the universe is not in conflict with faith because god's mind was behind it. >> this is the tricky, the tricky part... >> safer: and backstage at the pope's library, science is brought to bear on crumbling books, as restoration workers deal with water damage, mold and the ravages of time. it seems endless, this work, yes? >> angela nunez gaetan: it's endless, yes, obviously. >> safer: angela gaetan and the others go inch by inch, patching and strengthening ancient pages, scratching off paste put on by well-meaning restorers centuries ago-- paste that's turning acid, eating away at the page. mario tiburzi seldom reads what he's repairing-- it's too distracting, especially if the writer happens to be michelangelo. >> mario tiburzi: when i work on the michelangelo papers, it was the same that i work on mickey mouse paper.
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( laughs ) >> safer: mickey mouse, eh? a difficult job may take months or even years. but consider the result. >> gaetan: 1,000 years after us, i hope that they can read the same thing that we are reading now. >> safer: the library's most valued documents go back almost 2,000 years, nearly to the time of st. peter, the first pope, whose tomb lies beneath the basilica that bears his name. his letters to the faithful make up two books of the new testament. and here is a copy, written in greek on papyrus by one of peter's disciples around the year 200, a mere century or so after his death. >> pasini: "in the beginning, it was the word, and the word was god." >> safer: and from the same period, the gospel of luke and part of the gospel of john, also
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written on papyrus, venerated by early christians in egypt, preserved for centuries in a desert monastery. >> pasini: "the bread for today give us..." >> safer: they contain the oldest known copy of the lord's prayer, so fragile we were only allowed to see replicas. >> pasini: that great treasure of papyrus, i think, is the most important treasure of christianity. >> safer: with our tour nearly over, it seemed as if the library's collection had come to life in the streets of the eternal city: the centurions and crusaders, the centuries of faith and folly, time present and time past. leaving the library, we thought there's something, something almost magical to be immersed in this place, to breathe the air and touch the hand of history.
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welcome to the sports update presented by pfizer, here in the final round of the masters charl schwartzel shot 66 including blirdie-- birdies in the last four holes to win by 2 over australian jason day and-- am scott. tiger woods tied for fourth with jeff og imvey and luke donald. for more sports news and scores, log on to cbssports.com. this is jim nance reporting from augusta, georgia. the next i'm saying... i have this thing called psoriatic arthritis. i had some intense pain. it progressively got worse. my rheumatologist told me about enbrel. i'm surprised how quickly my symptoms have been managed. [ male announcer ] because enbrel suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers,
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>> simon: tonight, we're going to tell you about one of the best baseball players who ever lived-- albert pujols, first baseman for the st. louis cardinals. this is what he's done in his first ten years in the major leagues: he's never hit below .300, he's never hit fewer than 30 home runs, and he's never knocked in fewer than a 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, a native of the
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dominican republic, is now the idol in the baseball-crazy city of.t. louis. but what we found most impressive about albert can't be found between the lines of chalk on a baseball field, as we discovered one night in st. louis at an event where you would not expect to see the game's superstar. last october, they rolled out the red carpet for a gala. but the guest of honor was not albert pujols. ( applause ) this was a night for teenagers with down syndrome, here for an annual prom put on by the pujols family foundation. >> big smiles, and hold it. >> simon: these kids got the full prom treatment. and when albert and his wife deidre arrived, that's when the party really began. >> go albert pujols! ♪ ♪ >> simon: they're not only dancing. they're dressed to the hilt,
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aren't they? guys are in tuxedos. >> albert pujols: yeah. tuxedo; nice, nice dress. it's almost like they want to go all night long until the next day. they don't want the night to be over. >> simon: and neither did albert. ♪ ♪ every kid wanted to dance with albert, and he never said no. by the end of the evening, he looked like he'd just finished a doubleheader in august. must be the highlight of the year for them. >> albert pujols: yeah, and for me, too. any time i'm around them, i enjoy them and have a great time. >> simon: this is isabella, and she's the reason albert got involved with down syndrome. albert emigrated to america from the dominican republic when he was 16. he met his wife deidre in kansas city two years later. right away, she told him she had an infant daughter, isabella, who had down syndrome. >> deidre pujols: i think he was, like, almost in tears. like, he just felt bad because, you know, when you look at a child who isn't quite what the
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rest of the world would expect, it can be heartbreaking or... but he didn't care. >> simon: when deidre first told you, you didn't... you didn't hesitate? >> albert pujols: no, never in my mind cross and say, "oh, man, i probably stay away," you know? no. >> simon: albert was still in high school. >> albert pujols: i was the babysitter. and i love to be around her, and those memories, you know, that you will never forget. >> simon: and you consider her, no question, she's your daughter now? >> albert pujols: she's my little girl... or my big girl right now. you know, she's 13 years old. and you know, she's... she's normal to us. she can do anything. >> simon: it was in high school in kansas city that albert realized he could do anything, too. he could bash baseballs like no one else. in high school, were pitchers already afraid to throw good balls at you? >> albert pujols: yeah. >> simon: albert is so proud of his school career, he wanted us to look at his scrapbook. here was a player who would expect to be picked in the first few rounds of the 1999 major
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league draft, but it didn't happen. >> deidre pujols: i mean, the rounds were going by and he still hadn't gotten picked. and when he got the call that... that he had gotten drafted in the 13th round, he was devastated, and he cried like a baby. and he... he was heartbroken. >> simon: 401 players were selected ahead of albert. >> albert pujols: i was crying and, you know, i wanted to quit baseball. >> simon: it was the st. louis cardinals who gave him a reluctant nod and a small signing bonus. they sent him to their franchise in peoria, illinois, a minor team in a minor league. >> albert pujols: when i was in peoria for four and a half months, i got paid $252 with 50 cents. >> simon: that was his paycheck every two weeks. deidre kept supporting him, but they were drowning in debt. >> deidre pujols: there were times, we'd have these conversations-- "i think i need to file for bankruptcy. i don't know how i'll ever get
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this paid off." and albert was like, "no, don't do it yet." his exact words were, "let's see what happens with my baseball." >> simon: what happened was this-- he went on a tear in peoria and, amazingly, after only one year in the minors, he made it to the st. louis cardinals. he was in the big leagues. it took him all of four games before he hit his first home run. >> it won't be the last. >> simon: he came out swinging and hasn't stopped since. >> if there is anybody better in the game today, i have no idea who that would be. >> simon: we asked his teammate lance berkman to explain something we did not understand. why would any pitcher pitch to him? >> lance berkman: in situations where the game is on the line, i would never pitch to him. >> simon: he must love it when the bases are loaded. >> berkman: ( laughs ) i still wouldn't pitch to him. i mean, i'd... i'd rather walk in a run than give up four. >> it's a grand slam by albert pujols.
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>> he is absolutely, unequivocally unbelievable. >> simon: albert will tell you it's not just talent, it's work. albert estimates he takes 15,000 to 20,000 practice swings a year. look... and listen. and pitching to him in a cage is a job you do not want. what drives albert? he says he's still seething about how he was snubbed in that '99 draft. you'll never get over it, huh? >> albert pujols: never. never. >> simon: people have told me that it's really a bad idea to get you angry. >> albert pujols: yeah, you don't want to do that. ( laughter ) yeah, you don't want me to go oh for four, either, because the next day, whoever's pitching is going to pay up, you know? >> simon: peter gammons, perhaps the dean of all baseball writers, has been covering the sport for 40 years. >> peter gammons: if you look at history, there is no doubt that
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he's in the top ten players of all time. >> simon: he's 31 years old, and he already belongs in the pantheon of the greatest. >> gammons: absolutely. i mean, he is... there's no question that he's going to be a hall of famer. >> simon: do you ever think back, "gee, i started out as a kid from the dominican republic. look what's happened to me. i don't believe it." >> albert pujols: yeah, i think about it all the time. when i'm in the hotel by myself and... i pinch myself some time. "wow, is this really me?" >> simon: and every year, he goes back to where he came from a poor suburb of santo domingo. this is where he started playing ball, and where you can now see him in center field. >> albert pujols: my dad always used to take me to a ballpark. >> simon: and this is the apartment where his aunt helped raise him while his dad played softball abroad. last november, albert organized his own softball tournament on a familiar field, where he's just one of the boys.
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well, almost. ( cheers and applause ) but the real reason for the trip was not softball. albert and deidre regularly go to what are called "bateys," or shantytowns, to help people who really need help. what's the biggest need in a batey like this? >> albert pujols: everything. i mean, you're talking about clothes, shoes. i mean, anything that you just throw it away in the united state, throw in the trash, it's almost like gold to these people, brand-new stuff. >> simon: their family foundation has sent american doctors to a place where, not long ago, witch doctors held sway. the foundation recently brought new mattresses to a batey where kids often slept four at a time on waterlogged beds. >> albert pujols: beds that you don't even want your dog or... or your cat or any pet that you have to sleep, and... and it was pretty bad shape. >> simon: albert wants to expand the foundation's work to more bateys around the country. another medical mission is
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planned for this september. he and deidre were on hand to dedicate a new baseball field in the batey that the foundation funded. albert then spent three hours giving a clinic to boys who want to be him. >> albert pujols: boom! >> simon: here you are in a pretty messy place. why do you do it? >> albert pujols: because it's my passion. and i believe this is what god is calling me to do, you know. that was me. i mean, 25 years ago, i was one of those little boy with no hope, you know, just a dream. this is not just so i can be mr. nice guy. "look at that baseball player," you know. "he's not just a superstar in the field, but off the field doing this." i don't... i can care less. >> simon: you don't care what people think about you? >> albert pujols: no, not really. >> simon: albert says his devotion comes right out of his religion. he is devout, and as straight laced as they come in baseball. do you smoke? >> albert pujols: nope.
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>> simon: drink? >> albert pujols: no, never have. >> simon: curse? >> albert pujols: once in a while. ( laughter ) >> simon: not often. >> albert pujols: yeah. >> simon: baseball has lost some of its allure over the last decade because of steroids. and more than a few people look at albert 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. given what's happened to baseball in the public's mind over the last several years, how important is albert to the game? >> gammons: he's really important as the face of baseball. and he is the primary face. we're looking at history. he's an icon. and we should appreciate it, because there's never been anything that's stained his reputation. >> simon: albert is as much a part of st. louis now as the arch. he says he wants to be a cardinal forever, but even though he's making $16 million this year, he is not among the 20 highest paid players in baseball, and that rankles him. his contract's up at the end of
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the season. he won't even discuss it now. ( cheers and applause ) last august, albert hit his 400th career home run. that put him in a very exclusive club. >> number 400 for albert pujols. >> albert pujols: the ball's right here. >> simon: he's kept that ball, along with a few other things in his basement. you know you've got a problem with this case? >> albert pujols: too much stuff? >> simon: there's no more room. the room is teeming with trophies, mementos and awards. but the bat he used for number 400? it isn't here. why not? just listen. last august 31, the cardinals were shut out by the houston astros at the end of a brutal road trip. late that night, albert quietly left houston's ball park and went to the texas children's hospital. he'd heard a 13-year-old boy was there who couldn't make it to the game because he had a malignant brain tumor. albert came with a gift for brandon johnson; it was the bat
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that had whacked that 400th homer five nights earlier. he signed it, said a prayer, stayed for an hour. brandon is still with us, and the bat is still with him. he hangs onto it the way he hangs onto life. because of his surgery, it's not easy for him to express what that visit and that bat mean to him. do you remember what you felt when he walked in? >> brandon johnson: i... got... real... happy. >> simon: albert did not come to see brandon with a gaggle of photographers. it was not a publicity stunt. albert pujols has shown us many things since he came to america. becoming a great baseball player is only one of them. >> go to 60minutesovertime.com to go behind the scenes with the producer of our albert pujols story. sponsored by lipitor. closest to the edge. usedt took some crazy risks as a kid.
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