NEW YORK - Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced Thursday that Major League Baseball (MLB) has appointed former Major League player Curtis Pride as its newest "Ambassador for Inclusion." Pride's appointment is on a part-time basis as he continues to be Gallaudet University's baseball head coach.
"I am very excited to be a part of Major League Baseball as its newest 'Ambassador for Inclusion'," said Pride. "I look forward to working with everyone at the Office of the Commissioner to make a tremendous impact in the baseball community."
Pride will enter his eighth season as Gallaudet's head coach where he has built a program into a consistent contender in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC). The two-time NEAC Coach of the Year has guided the Bison to three straight 20-win season (2012-14) and NEAC regular-season co-champions in 2013 and '14. The 2014 team set a new school record for wins in a season with 27 and posted a program best 12-6 mark in conference play. Pride has coached 21 all-conference players and won three NEAC Players of the Year and two Pitchers of the Year awards. Pride has won 109 games in seven seasons at GU.
Pride, who has been deaf since birth, played in 421 Major League games across parts of 11 seasons (1993, 1995-2001, 2003-2006) as an outfielder. The Maryland native finished with a .250 career batting average, 20 home runs and 82 RBI after playing for the Montreal Expos, the Detroit Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees and the Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels. The College of William & Mary product was a regular season contributor to four Clubs that reached the Postseason and played in the 2004 Division Series with the American League West Champion Angels. The 421 games are by far the most played by a deaf player since William Hoy ended his Major League career more than 110 years ago in 1902. Pride is a proud graduate of The College of William and Mary (Class of 1990).
In June 2010, Pride was appointed to President Obama's Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and is still currently serving on this council.
In his new capacity, Pride will provide guidance, assistance and training related to MLB's efforts to ensure an inclusive environment. A large part of Pride's role will be to encourage continued outreach, participation and equal opportunity in support of MLB's Youth Programs, overseen by Senior Vice President Tony Reagins. Pride will also manage the development of an inclusive educational and training forum under Wendy Lewis, who is MLB's Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Strategic Alliances, and will serve as a resource for individuals in the baseball family regarding issues related to disabilities.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: "Curtis Pride is an inspiring example of determination and an outstanding role model for kids and all those who overcome challenges. 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."
In addition, Billy Bean, who was hired as the League's inaugural "Ambassador for Inclusion" in July 2014, has been promoted to the expanded position of Vice President, Social Responsibility & Inclusion.
- MLB hires Pride as latest Ambassador for Inclusion (MLB.com)
- MLB hires Pride, promotes Bean (BaseballAmerica.com)
Major League Baseball Public Relations contributed to this release