During the Grammys on Sunday, the Recording Academy paid tribute to music legends we lost over the past year, such as Pop Smoke, Bill Withers, Little Richard and county legend Charley Pride. But that wasn’t the only tribute the groundbreaking country artist received, because on the same day, the Texas Rangers had something special in mind with the unveiling of Charley Pride Field at their spring training site in Surprise, Ariz.
“Charley Pride was a very special person,” general manager Chris Young said during the unveiling. “As we dedicate this field to him today, it’s important to remember who he was and the way he lived his life. This guy left nothing to chance. He lived life to its fullest. And I think every time we take this field or any field for that matter, we want to do the same.
“We honor Charley, we honor all Ranger fans with the way we go about it on a daily basis. [...] Charley’s name on this field represents who we are and what we want to be. Charley was a champion, our number one fan, and this is a special day to celebrate him.”
As anyone who knew the “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” singer would tell you, Pride lived and breathed baseball. Prior to his passing in December at the age of 86 due to COVID-19 complications, he was a part of an ownership group that purchased the Rangers in 2010. In the decade that followed, he frequently visited the team and made annual stops at the spring training facility that now bears his name.
He also played in the Minor League and was a pitcher for the Memphis Red Sox and Birmingham Black Barrons in the Negro League before he transitioned into a Hall of Fame career in country music that would span over 60 years. One of his last live performances was singing the National Anthem in July at the Rangers’ first-ever game at their new Globe Life Field stadium in Arlington.
“The Rangers have been honored to have Mr. Pride be a part of the team’s ownership group for the last ten years,” the team said in a statement at the time of his death. “A longtime resident of this area, he was a regular at home games when his schedule permitted. [...] Mr. Pride was a true gentleman, and we will never forget the lasting contributions he has made to the Texas Rangers organization.”