Curtis Pride: Didn’t Let Disability Hold Him Back
Curtis Pride’s story is both emotional and inspirational. From 1993 to 2006, Pride served as an outfielder on several different teams including the Montreal Expos, the Detroit Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees and the Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels.
At the end of his career, Pride finished strong with a batting average of .250, 20 home runs, and 82 RBI. Although Pride had many successes in life, he was at a disadvantage compared to the other players on his team.
Since his birth, Pride has been deaf. But he never let his disability hold him back. In his childhood and teen years, Pride was an all-star athlete. He excelled in baseball, soccer, and basketball. He was even named as a first-team All-American soccer player and served as a member of the US National Team at the 1985 Junior World Cup in Beijing, China.
Although he excelled in many areas, he shined in baseball the most. In 1993, he was signed with his first team, the Montreal Expos. His hearing loss has certainly provided some challenges when it comes to communicating with his team, but despite his disability, Pride never stopped from pursuing his passion and playing the game.
His five percent residual hearing allowed him to hear the strike of a bat, so he was still able to thrive in the outfield. Pride’s determination and resilience did not go unnoticed. He was awarded the Tony Conigliaro Award in 1996, which is given to a player who overcomes adversity.
Soon after his retirement from Major League Baseball, Pride became the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University, a leading university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. In only five seasons, Pride helped set a school record of 27 wins in 2014.
Although he is now retired from the Major League Baseball, Pride still remains an active member within the community. In 2016, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, appointed Pride as the “Ambassador for Inclusion” for Major League Baseball.
In this role, Pride now provides guidance and training to Major League Baseball teams to ensure an inclusive environment. Other duties within in the role include outreach and support to the MLB’s Youth Programs and managing an inclusive educational and training forum.
Manfred praises Pride over what a great role model he is to youth and anyone who is faced with adversity. Manfred continued, “He will offer a valuable perspective as we continue efforts to foster an inclusive environment for anyone who plays or is a fan of our sport”.
Originally published at bobkleinnewportbeach.wordpress.com on August 31, 2018.