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Charley Pride was the pride of the Yankees

Charley Pride was the pride of the Yankees

Let's talk about the Yankees, shall we?

I think the World Series kicked off last night. I think the Yankees played the Phillies. But I don'know shit about shit and and I definitely don'know shit about baseball so I'm not gonna stand behind the veracity of either of those statements. I think we're supposed to hate the Yankees because they have a lot of money to buy a lot of really good players who use a lot of really good steroids. And because we're supposed to like the Twins.

Really, I just wanna talk about Charley Pride.

Charley Pride and Buck Owens
Charley Pride and Buck Owens
Courtesy of charleypride.com

Charley Pride was a Yankee. Well, he was essentially a Jim Crow Yankee. Before he was the first country music singer to blow my fuckin' mind as a child ("Grandma... is that a... black man singin' country music?"), before he crooned such hits as "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" and "All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)," Pride was a Yankee, pitching for the Boise Yankees, the Class C farm team of the New York Yankees, and later for the Yankees' Class D team out of Fond du Lac. On this day in 1956, he pitched four innings of shutout ball, as the Negro League All-Stars beat the Major League All-Stars - including Hank Aaron and Willie Mays - 4-2.

It's a good thing Pride went on to country music success - after all, in the early 50s, while in the Negro Leagues with the Louisville Clippers, he and one other player were traded to the Birmingham Black Barons... for a team bus. I don't think that'd happen to a Yankee today, eh? Though if the Louisville Clippers are still in existence, maybe it's still common practice. Like I said, I don'know shit about shit.

I do know that Yankees make a lot of money and are very important people. Bob Dylan once wrote a blues song about another Yankee who, for the time, made a whole lotta money - Catfish Hunter.

Catfish, million dollar man, nobody can throw the ball like he can. After leaving the Oakland A's as a free agent in 1974 (when he called his small-town attorney in North Carolina, the attorney replied, "What's a free agent?"), Hunter had been contacted by 20 of 24 major league teams and became the highest paid pitcher in baseball history, signing a five-year contract with the Yankees for $3.75 million. He helped the Yankees win three straight pennants, but arm troubles forced him into retirement by 1979.

As several grouchy men have grouched to me over the years, the Yankees are a bunch of scoundrels whose success is couched in the deep pockets of the Mafiosos who finance the team (well, according to the hypothesis of one grouchy boyfriend - and while I don'know shit about baseball he really didn't know shit about shit so don't quote me on that). They've bought their way to the win starting with the signing of Catfish Hunter and the practice continues today. Goddamnit!

 

I really don't think that. I don't actually have an opinion on any of this, well, except I do like Charley Pride, and I'm sorry he was traded for a bus.

But I do know that I stopped caring about baseball when my Grandpa died. He was some sort of minor leaguer, brief internet research tells me likely a Depression-era Class D player out of South Dakota. He mentioned this to me only once, preferring instead to focus his energy on helping me be a better player. Arching his back at eighty years old just-so to show me the proper stance. Taking me to ball games to see his son play with the grown-ups and eating Dakota Kid brand sunflower seeds in the stands.

You know, in the cheap seats. Cheap as they come, watching your small-town team play. "Our ball club may be minor league but at least it's Triple-A/We got a great pitcher what's his name/Well, we can't even spell it/We don't worry 'bout the pennant much/We just like to see the boys hit it deep/There's nothing like the view from the cheap seats."

Thanks Alabama. That's how baseball was meant to be.


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