Former major league baseball player Curtis Pride has been named the new Gallaudet baseball coach. Pride is the only Deaf major league baseball player in the modern era, and he played for several teams, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos, and Detroit Tigers.
"I had been seriously considering coaching as my next career move after my retirement from playing professional baseball, this year," said Pride. "I am very excited about the opportunity not only to turn the Gallaudet baseball program into a consistent winner, but also to make a positive impact on the players' lives, both on and off the field."
Athletic Director Mike Weinstock is excited about having Curtis Pride become the Gallaudet baseball coach. "Curtis brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game to Gallaudet. We have many talented baseball players on campus, and there is a wealth of talented Deaf and Hard of Hearing high school baseball players, and I know many of them will want to come to Gallaudet, to play for Curtis."
Pride has played for several of the best managers in major league baseball history, including current Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who won 4 World Series rings and has led his teams to the playoffs the past 13 years in a row, as well as Mike Scioscia and Felipe Alou. He also played for Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox, who he says, "Had the biggest impact on me. Bobby is the type of manager who really cares and respects his players a lot which makes everyone want to play harder for him. Bobby believes that communication is vital to keeping the team together." When Pride played for Cox in Atlanta, the Braves came within two games of the World Series.
Pride is active in the community off the field and has his own charity, Together With Pride Foundation, which he runs with his wife, Lisa. There are several activities the foundation supports or hopes to support, such as a scholarship program, literacy, and mentoring.
In 1996, Pride received the Tony Conigliaro Award, given annually to a MLB player who best overcomes adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage.
Pride also plans to conduct baseball camps for Deaf and Hard of Hearing high school students. But his first task will be coaching the Gallaudet baseball team, which begins their season in February.
"I am excited about learning sign language. I look forward to helping the athletes become better ballplayers by teaching them some of the things I have learned from my experience in the Major Leagues. My philosophy is to play baseball in the most fundamental way, which is to execute a lot of little things necessary to win ballgames. I expect the players to play up to their ability, to play hard the right way, and to have fun."