October 29, 1956

Charley Pride pitches four innings of shutout ball, as the Negro League All-Stars beat the Major League All-Stars, including Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, 4-2.

While music was his first love, one of Pride's lifelong dreams was to become a professional baseball player. In 1952, he pitched for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League. Pride pitched well, and in 1953, he signed a contract with the Boise Yankees, the Class C farm team of the Yankees.

During that season, an injury caused him to lose zip on his fastball, and he was sent to the Yankees' Class D team in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Later that season, while in the Negro leagues with the Louisville Clippers, he and another player were traded to the Birmingham Black Barons for a team bus. Pride later related the story, "Jesse (Mitchell) and I may have the distinction of being the only players in history to be traded for a used motor vehicle..."

Pride pitched for several other minor league teams, his hopes of making it to the big leagues still alive, but the Army derailed this. After serving two years in the military, he tried to return to baseball. Though hindered by an injury to his throwing arm, Pride briefly played for the Missoula Timberjacks of the Pioneer League in 1960, and had tryouts with the California Angels and the New York Mets organizations, but was not picked up by either team.

On June 5, 2008, Pride and his brother Mack "The Knife" Pride and 28 other living former Negro league players were "drafted" by each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams in a recognition of the on-field achievements and historical relevance of 30 mostly-forgotten Negro-league stars. Pride was picked by the Texas Rangers, with whom he has had a long affiliation, and the Colorado Rockies took his brother.

Charley Pride sings national anthem
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Pride is an avid fan and part owner of the Texas Rangers. He sang the national anthem before game 5 of the 2010 World Series, played between the Rangers and San Francisco Giants. Pride also sang the national anthem before game 2 of the 2011 ALCS between the Rangers & the Detroit Tigers.

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