The Texas Rangers announced Thursday the launch of the Charley Pride Fellowship Program, a front-office internship program designed to create a more inclusive ball club by actively recruiting candidates from diverse backgrounds.
The paid fellowship is designed for college juniors and seniors and will run for 10 weeks through three front office departments. Accepted fellows will select their departmental rotations based on their interests.
"The Charley Pride Fellowship Program creates an entirely new experience offered by the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation; it does not take the place of any existing internships or full-time positions. These students will gain valuable cross-disciplinary skills that will benefit them should they choose to pursue a career in professional baseball or any other industry," the team said in a statement.
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Pride, who played in the Negro American League and minor leagues before launching his Country Music singing career, later became part of an ownership group with a stake in the club.
Leading up to his death last December at the age of 86, Pride worked with The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation to establish this fellowship that will help "create a launching pad for students from diverse backgrounds looking to gain baseball front office experience."
Rozene Pride, Charley's wife, said he loved the team and that he often said being around the players kept him young.
"This program is something that I feel that the Texas Rangers need and I'm so glad to see them do it and name it for Charley. He loved the Texas Rangers," said Rozene Pride, during a call announcing the fellowship on Thursday. "The young men and women who will benefit from the program I'm sure will gain a lot of knowledge and experience from it. It's something that we can all say is wonderful for the community, because we need diversity in all organizations."
Fellow County Music singers Garth Brooks, Neal McCoy and Larry Gatlin took part in the call Thursday and are also throwing their support into the program, in no small part because of their friendship and love for Charley and what he meant to them individually.
"I want to thank the artists, this is wonderful talent that has joined us this morning to welcome the program in Pride's honor. It's so wonderful to have artists think enough of him to give a few minutes of their time to him," Rozene said.
Also on the call was prominent Dallas businessman Roland Parrish, whose Parrish Charitable Foundation is partnering with the Rangers Foundation in the Pride Fellowship Program.
The team recently paid tribute to Charley in another way, by naming a field at their spring training complex in Surprise, Arizona after him.
The Texas Rangers announced the dedication on Sunday on Twitter, unveiling the signage on Field 2 now named Charley Pride Field.