Pride slugged his way out of Sledge in 1952, catching on with the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League. He pitched, played outfield, smashed home runs and drew the interest of the St. Louis Cardinals. “I sound like I’m bragging, but I was good,” he says. “I could throw the hummer the hook and the chain. I could hit. Boy, could I ever hit.”
But the night the Cardinals’ chief scout came to watch him in Saxon, Mo., he heard a sharp “crack” in his elbow.
“I thought why is this happening?” Pride says. “I would have been picked up. I ate and slept baseball. Baseball was my plan.”
It didn’t end on the mound in Saxon, though it was only a matter of time before it did. Pride bounced around the minor leagues for a decade, at one point being traded for a “bus.” It was on the buses, in between the nowhere towns, where he would pluck away at his guitar singing the songs he grew with up. Country songs.
His last shot at the big leagues was a tryout with the Mets organization in 1962.
“[Manager] Casey Stengel didn’t even give me a chance,” he says. “I remember thinking one of these days you are going to hear about me. I didn’t know it would be for my singing.
Posted: May 09, 2012 at 10:15 AM | 9 comment(s)
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