The Texas Rangers are paying tribute to part-owner of the team Charley Pride by naming one of their fields after the very successful country singer who died of COVID complications last year at the age of 86.
The Rangers revealed their decision for the field’s name on Sunday when they announced, “Charley Pride Field” at the official Rangers spring training complex in Surprise, Arizona.
The team issued a statement honoring the part-owner of their team, “Introducing the Charley Pride Field! You are greatly missed.”
Pride died on December 12, 2020, but has already won 3 Grammys from 13 nominations and has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as a result of his extensive and successful music career.
Pride was a professional baseball player who pitched for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League. Pride was given a guitar by his mother which he learned to play by himself at the age of 14, but his main dream was to professionally play baseball.
Pride started aiming for a career in music when he was advised by two country musicians to join the music industry.
Pride is best known for being the first African American country singer to gain prominent recognition for his music. At the beginning of his career, Pride had deliberately hidden his color from the audience. His first single and second did not chart, but the third one successfully charted and brought him recognition.
At the time, the audience was scarcely aware of his color.
Previously, Pride’s biographical information was not included with the release of his singles. His first big show happened in Detroit’s Olympia stadium where only a handful from the 10,000 fans that were in attendance knew that he was black.
He came up on the stage with loud claps and cheers from the audience that quickly trickled down to silence. He later said of the time, “I knew I’d have to get this over with sooner or later. I told the audience: ‘Friends, I realize it’s a little unique, me coming out here – with a permanent suntan – to sing country and western to you. But that’s the way it is.'”
Pride and the Rangers
The best-selling country singer purchased a part-ownership stake in the Rangers when he joined a group that bought the team in 2010.
Pride was also a frequent visitor to the Texas Rangers Spring Training facility.
He was a stand-out pitcher from 1950s to 1960s before he turned his attention to music, but nevertheless, he still showed an enthusiasm for baseball.
Pride even had a couple of brief stints with the Yankees and Reds minor league squads, before his retirement to become one of the most successful musicians of his time.
One of his last performances was of him singing the National Anthem in July 2020 at the Rangers Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, for their first ever baseball game at the field.
He was a good sportsman and a massively talented musician with a soulful and beautiful voice, I’m sure all the true fans of country music miss him.
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