Curtis Pride hit a home run for the Los Angeles Angels yesterday. The journeyman outfielder was called up to the team a week ago as an injury replacement. Pride’s not a young guy. He’s 37. He’s been bouncing back and forth from the minors to the majors for 14 seasons now. That’s not unusual. There are lots of guys who spend their entire careers trying to make it in the big leagues, never catching on with any one team for very long (see: Sal Fasano).
But Pride is different. He’s deaf. From Wikipedia:
Deaf at birth from rubella, Pride developed oral skills early in his life and graduated from the College of William and Mary. He did not play baseball at college but was the starting point guard on the basketball team. He also was an excellent soccer player who played for the United States at the Under 17 World Championships in China (1985). At the same time, he has been extraordinarily active in community service.
Pride was originally signed by the NY Mets, but reached the major leagues with Montreal. A left-handed hitter, with good plate discipline, some power, and considerable speed, he has never played regularly in the majors. Instead, he has pinch hit or played in the outfield, usually left or right, as an injury replacement, and is regarded as an excellent fielder with a strong arm.
Infrequent Umpbump fantasy baseball writer Zvee and I got to meet Pride a couple years ago, when we were playing in his charity wiffle-ball tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla. Pride is a great guy. He spends half his time chasing his dream of playing in the big leagues, and the other half helping to run the Together With Pride foundation, which aids hearing impaired children through a hearing aid bank.