The Texas Rangers paid tribute to late country music legend Charley Pride on Sunday, naming Field Two at their spring training complex in Surprise after him.
"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 Charlie, 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. Charlie was a champion, our number one fan, and this is a special day to celebrate him."
Charley Pride passed away at the age of 86 on December 12, 2020 from COVID-19 complications. He was part of the ownership group that purchased the Texas Rangers in 2010; a position which he held until the time of his death.
Pride pitched professionally in the Negro and Minor Leagues throughout the 1950’s before a 60-year Hall of Fame singing career. He later became a regular participant at the club's spring training camps in Florida and Arizona, working out with the team and performing annual clubhouse concerts for players and staff, a tradition that continued through spring training in 2020 before it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 Pride's death. "A longtime resident of this area, he was a regular at home games when his schedule permitted. He sang The Star Spangled Banner one final time before the first regular season game ever played at Globe Life Field on July 24."
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“When we step on this field to practice and we see Charley Pride Field, we should have a little more pride in how we go about our work," third base coach Tony Beasley said to the team on Sunday.
"I think about all of his accomplishments, how he defeated the odds to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame as a Black man; to persevere through times of adversity. He did so many things in his life that you would think were not impossible. So, when I think about Charley Pride, I think about hope."
All photos by Kelly Gavin / Courtesy of the Texas Rangers
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