Life is full of curveballs—just ask Charley Pride.
Before winning Grammy Awards and topping the charts with hits like “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” and “I’d Rather Love You,” Charley had dreams of pitching in Major League Baseball. Charley chased the dream in his teens and 20s—finding some success in the Negro Leagues—but hung up his glove in the 1960s after an unsuccessful tryout with the New York Mets. From there, he embarked on a 50-plus-year country music career that saw him achieve induction into the Grand Ole Opry in 1993 and Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
Over the weekend, Charley, 84, celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Opry induction with appearances on the Opry stage on May 4 and May 5.
Never forgetting his baseball roots, Charley drew a correlation between his dream of playing in the Majors and the reality of being inducted into the Opry—where, like the Baseball Hall of Fame, you are immortalized with a bronze plaque.
“It’s as if I had made it in baseball and they came up to me and took me to Cooperstown and said, ‘This is where your plaque is going to be—beside Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron,’” said Charley.
Charley may not have made it to the Majors, but he became a part of the MLB in 2010 when he purchased a small stake in the Texas Rangers. Charley has been attending the Rangers spring training since the 1970s.
Charley will be performing at Nissan Stadium during CMA Fest on June 8 at 8 p.m.
photo by Rachael Black, courtesy of the Grand Ole Opry