He Is The Fourth Of Eleven Children
Born on March 18, 1934, on a cotton farm in Sledge, Mississippi, where his father was a sharecropper, Pride was the fourth of eleven children. He had seven brothers and three sisters.
His Name Wasn’t Supposed To Be Charley
His father originally named him Charl Frank Pride, but due to a clerical error on his birth certificate, his legal name became Charley Frank Pride.
He Taught Himself To Play Guitar
When Pride was only fourteen, his mother bought him his first guitar. He taught himself how to play the instrument by listening to country music on the radio.
His Lifelong Dream Was To Become A Professional Baseball Player
Though Pride loved music, Pride’s lifelong dream was to become a professional baseball player. In 1952, he finally signed on to play with the Memphis Red Sox of Negro American League. A year later, he signed a contract with the Boise Yankees – New York Yankees’ Class C farm team.
After Pride played ball for two years, he joined the U.S. Army, where he served for two years. Upon his discharge, he meant to return to baseball; however, he sustained injuries that affected his throwing arm.
Discouraged that he could no longer qualify for the major leagues, Pride ended in Helena, Montana, where he worked in a zinc smelting plant at the same time played in the minors. Eventually, in 1961, he earned a tryout for the California Angels, but they turned him down. The next year, New York Mets rejected him as well.
Country Stars Red Foley And Red Sovine Encouraged Him To Join The Music Business
With his baseball career seemingly over, Pride started giving music some attention. In 1963, he sang backstage for Red Foley and Red Sovine at one of Sovine’s concerts. The veteran musicians were impressed with Pride, and they told him he should go to Nashville – which he did!