by Marcus K. Dowling
Baseball player-turned-iconic country singer Charley Pride was a part-owner of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers franchise. The team has recently honored their dearly-departed owner by naming a field at their spring training complex after him. Though there has been no word if “burgers and fries and cherry pies” will be available for sale there, the team announced the dedication Sunday by unveiling “Charley Pride Field” signage at their Surprise, Arizona spring training site.
Introducing Charley Pride Field!
You are greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/v46HyO2EQ3
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 14, 2021
Pride’s participation at Texas Rangers spring training camps in Pompano Beach and Port Charlotte, Florida, and Surprise, Arizona, included regularly working out with the team and performing a clubhouse concert for players and staff. At the time of his untimely demise due to COVID-19 in December 2020, the Rangers said, via a statement, “Mr. Pride’s first love was baseball. He pitched professionally in the Negro and Minor Leagues throughout the 1950s before embarking on his Hall of Fame singing career of more than 60 years. Mr. Pride was a true gentleman, and we will never forget the lasting contributions he has made to the Texas Rangers organization.”
Regarding Pride’s baseball roots, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick noted, “It is a bit of a novelty for a lot of our guests when they discover that Pride played in the Negro Leagues. Not only did he play in the Negro Leagues, but he was also a good pitcher who made his way into the Yankees organization before he hurt his arm. To the surprise of many, after he hurt his arm, he fell back on a pioneering country and western music career. I always tell our guests, ‘We should all have a fallback career like Charley Pride.’”