Thursday, March 18, 2021
– The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation today announced the creation of the Charley Pride Fellowship Program, offering rising college juniors and seniors a 10-week internship opportunity with the team's front office.
The new Fellowship Program honors the late country music star, who had a strong connection to the Texas Rangers organization for more than 50 years. The details of the program were in the process of being finalized when Pride passed away on Dec. 12, 2020, at the age of 86. Today would have Pride's 87th birthday.
This marked the second honor of Pride this week by the Rangers. On Sunday, the Rangers honored his memory by dedicating one of the practice fields at their Surprise, Ariz. complex as Charley Pride Field.
Officials from the Texas Rangers were joined in making today's announcement by Pride's wife, Rozene Pride, his longtime friends and fellow country music stars Garth Brooks, Larry Gatlin and Neal McCoy, and Dallas businessman Roland Parrish, whose Parrish Charitable Foundation is partnering with the Rangers Foundation in the Pride Fellowship Program.
The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation established the Charley Pride Fellowship Program to help create a launching pad for students from diverse backgrounds looking to gain baseball front office experience.
The Foundation will hire, train and support five Fellows per year as they rotate through three front office departments. Fellows will select their departmental rotation based on their interests.
Having recorded more than 30 number 1 hits with Grammy and Country Music Association Awards under his belt, Pride's first love was always baseball. He pitched professionally in the Negro and minor leagues throughout the 1950s before embarking on his Hall of Fame singing career of more than 60 years. He then became a regular participant at Texas Rangers spring training camps in Pompano Beach and Port Charlotte, Fla., and Surprise, working out with the team and staging an annual clubhouse concert for players and staff, a tradition that continued through the spring of 2020.