Did you know that Charley Pride’s first ambition was to break records on the baseball field? That was before he broke records in his career in country music and even receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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His Beginning

Pride grew up in Sledge, Mississippi where he saw the baseball field as a way out of the cotton fields. His father worked there as a sharecropper.  Pride said,

“When I saw Jackie Robinson go to the major leagues, I’m picking cotton alongside my dad and I said, ‘boy this is going to be my way out of the cotton fields.’  This was in an interview with Amna Nawaz’ “Live From The Couch.”

He practiced his fastball alongside with his guitar here as well.

“When I bought the guitar, I bought it from Sears, Roebuck, and I left it out in the wagon and it rained that night and it was only taped together. I never could keep it in tune,” Pride said. “I’m still leaving a lot of things.”

For the last five decades of his musical career, he received numerous awards but he says that some things are bound to be left behind.

Now

Pride is now 79 years old. He used to play on several baseball teams in the Negro Leagues, minors and even in major ones for a few weeks at a time. He was called a “barnstormer” because he traveled all over the country and played with baseball legends, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

“My ambition was to go, like I say, and break all those records then set me one by the time I was 35 or 36,” Pride said, but eventually he ended his professional baseball career and resorted to his other love of music. “I had a lot of fun traveling and doing what I loved to do, so I don’t have no regrets.”

Pride was the very first African American country music star and he was definitely proud of that. This success also made it possible for him to go back to his first love in baseball. “I’ll just try and make enough money to buy my own club then put myself on the roster,” he said to himself. Now, Pride is a part-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. Though he probably wants to be part of the roster, admits that he’s a little too old for it. However, he still works out regularly with the team.

As we have previously written, his comeback album  ‘Music In My Heart’ is already out. “I think it’s one of the finest albums I’ve ever made,” Pride said. “I’ve recorded about 500 and something songs, and of that 500 I think this could go up against any of the 500 I’ve ever done.” ‘Music In My Heart is his first album in six years, and Pride said: “it won’t be this long again after this one.”