Charley Pride was a country music icon. His influence still reverberates through the country music world. However, his dream wasn’t to become a famous singer. Instead, Pride wanted to be a pro baseball player. More than that, he wanted to be the best baseball player that the big leagues had ever seen.
The country music world would have been so much different if Charley Pride wouldn’t have decided to become a country singer. The boundaries he broke and the example he set are both so important to the genre. If he had his way, though he would have been an MLB all-star. He talked about his early aspirations in an interview.
Charley Pride’s Early Goals
Charley Pride says that he had been singing since he was about five years old. However, he had no idea that he was preparing himself for a music career. In fact, he had only been inside one recording studio before moving to Nashville. He says his original dream was, “to be the greatest baseball player to ever put on the uniform.”
That dream started when Jackie Robinson went to the major leagues. That showed him that there was a place in the MLB for Black men. So, he thought that going to the big leagues would be his ticket out of the cotton fields of Mississippi.
People were already telling Charley Pride he had a great voice. They were always telling him that he would make more money with a music career. He thought that could wait, though. He told people, ”Well, I want to go to the major leagues, break all the records there, and set new ones by the time I’m thirty-five or thirty-six. Then, I’ll go sing.”
Pride Did Play Some Baseball
While Charley never made it to the MLB, he did play some baseball along the way. Pride played for the Memphis Red Sox in 1953. Then, he played for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1954. He pitched for both teams and was primarily known for his curveball, according to BR Bullpen.
Charley Pride was drafted into the US Army in 1956. He was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado. While there, he played on the Army baseball team. After his discharge from the Army, Pride played for the Missoula Timberjacks for a short time. In 1960, he retired from baseball and started his legendary career in country music.
Charley Pride was not done with baseball, though. In 2010, he became a minority owner of the Texas Rangers. Every year, he would visit the team during spring training and put on a private concert for them. He also sang the national anthem before many Texas Rangers home games. When the Rangers moved to the Globe Life Field in July of 2020, Charley Pride sang the national anthem there as well.