Thursday, February 5, 2009
Me and Bobby McGee by Charlie Pride
Charley Frank Pride (born March 18, 1938) is a country music artist. During his career, he has had thirty-six number-one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. He is one of the few African-American country musicians to have had considerable success in the largely Caucasian country music industry and the only one to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
Pride was born in Sledge, Mississippi, one of eleven children of poor sharecroppers. His father named him "Charl Frank Pride", but because of an error on his birth certificate, his legal name is Charley Frank Pride. In his early teens, Pride began playing guitar.
Though he also loved music, one of Pride's life-long dreams was to become a professional baseball player. In 1952, he pitched for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League. He pitched well, and, in 1953, he signed a contract with the Boise Yankees, the Class C farm team of the New York Yankees. During that season, an injury caused him to lose the "mustard" on his fastball, and he was sent to the Yankees' Class D team in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Later that season, while in the Negro Leagues with the Louisville Clippers, he and another player (Jesse Mitchell), were traded to the Birmingham Black Barons for a team bus. "Jesse and I may have the distinction of being the only players in history to be traded for a used motor vehicle," Pride mused in his 1994 autobiography.