With a surprise in Surprise, Arizona, this weekend Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers honored the late Charley Pride with naming their spring training field after him.
Before he was singing iconic hits like “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” and winning CMA Entertainer of the Year (1971), Charley was pitching for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League. In 1953 he joined the Boise Yankees, a farm team of MLB’s New York Yankees…but an injury eventually sidelined his baseball career.
Charley picked up the guitar again, which he first taught himself to play at 14 years old when his mom bought him one.
While Charley was becoming a country music legend, baseball was never that far from him though – in 1980, during the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Kansas City Royals, he sang the National Anthem at game 6, where Philly clinched the series.
He had a long-history with the Texas Rangers — Charley was also part of a group that help a minority stake in the baseball team.
When Charley passed away in December, the Rangers released a statement that said, “Mr. Pride’s first love was baseball. He pitched professionally in the Negro and Minor Leagues throughout the 1950’s before embarking on his Hall of Fame singing career of more than 60 years….Mr. Pride then became a regular participant at Texas Rangers spring training camps in Pompano Beach and Port Charlotte, Florida and Surprise, Arizona, working out with the team and staging an annual clubhouse concert for players and staff, a tradition that continued through this past spring.”
Adding, “The Rangers have been honored to have Mr. Pride be a part of the team’s ownership group for the last ten years. A longtime resident of this area, he was a regular at home games when his schedule permitted… Mr. Pride was a true gentleman, and we will never forget the lasting contributions he has made to the Texas Rangers organization”
In one of his few singing performances last year, Charley sang the National Anthem in July 2020 at the first-ever baseball game played at the Rangers’ new Globe Life Field in Arlington…you can watch it here…
The Texas Rangers shared on social media the unveiling of the sign marking Charley Pride Field…
Introducing Charley Pride Field!
You are greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/v46HyO2EQ3
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 14, 2021
Headline Photo Courtesy of 2911 Media
Additional Photos Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Additional Photos Courtesy of Texas Rangers