Living Loud: Curtis Pride - Major League Baseball Player
This article is part of our "Living Loud" series, which highlights famous people who are deaf or hard of hearing and their impact in the world.
Curtis Pride was a Major League Baseball (MLB) player - he was the first full-season deaf player in the modern era of Major League Baseball. He is currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University. He has been awarded NEAC Couch of the Year (twice), the MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding community service, and the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity through the attributes of spirit, courage and determination. He was also appointed to the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Curtis Pride was born deaf as a result of his mother having rubella (German measles) while she was pregnant.
He loved sports and, in addition to baseball, played soccer and basketball. In 1985 he was named one of the top 15 youth prospects in the world for soccer and was part of the U.S. soccer team that competed in the FIFA Under 16 World Championships (the Junior World Cup) in China. Afterwhich, he received a full basketball scholarship to attend William and Mary College, where he was a starter on the basketball team for four years while earning a degree in finance. During this time, he also signed with the New York Mets and played baseball in the Mets' system part-time. Curtis played his first Major League Baseball game in 1993 with the Montreal Expos.
A History-Making Player
“I had a lot of people that doubted my ability to play major league baseball because of my disability. It was important for me to talk about what I could do, not what I cannot do.”
Curtis Pride became the first full-season deaf player in the modern era of Major League Baseball (the first deaf player in the majors since Dick Sipek in 1945). Curtis said, “I had a lot of people that doubted my ability to play major league baseball because of my disability. It was important for me to talk about what I could do, not what I cannot do.”
Curtis played for six Major League Baseball teams during his career including the Detroit Tigers, 1996-1997; Atlanta Braves, 1998; Boston Red Sox, 1997 and 2000; Montreal Expos, 1993, 1995 and 2001; New York Yankees, 2003; and the Los Angeles Angels, 2004-2006. In 421 major league games, he compiled a .250 batting average with 20 home runs, 82 RBI’s and 29 stolen bases. His best season was for the Detroit Tigers in 1996 when he had a .300 batting average with 10 home runs, 31 RBI’s, and 11 stolen bases.
Hear Curtis tell his story, watch this short (under 8 minutes) story about Curtis Pride:
Making a Difference
"Keep believing in yourself and good things will happen."
Curtis Pride established the Together With Pride Foundation, to encourage and support deaf and hard of hearing youth across a number of programs. These programs include scholarships, a hearing aid bank that supplies new and refurbished hearing aids to young people, literacy and mentoring support, and baseball and fishing clinics. He says to "Keep believing in yourself and good things will happen."
Because of his outreach and support for deaf and hard of hearing young people, he was awarded Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding community service and the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity through the attributes of spirit, courage and determination.
Still in the Game
"Work hard, stay focused, and be positive."
Curtis Pride is currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University. He was named NEAC Coach of the Year two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. He said he learned something from each of the coaches he played for in Major League Baseball and applies those lessons to his own coaching. Curtis encourages others to "Work hard, stay focused, and be positive."
In 2010, he was appointed to the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Curtis said, “It is truly an honor to be appointed to serve on the President's Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. I am extremely excited about working with the other esteemed council members to support the President and First Lady’s initiative to promote a healthier lifestyle for children and adults throughout the country."
- Gallaudet University baseball coach Curtis Pride appointed to the President's Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. (2010, June 23). Gallaudet Athletics. Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://www.gallaudetathletics.com/sports/bsb/2009-10/releases/pcfsn
- Curtis Pride Bio. Gallaudet Athletics - Baseball. Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://www.gallaudetathletics.com/sports/bsb/coaches/pride_curtis
- Who is Curtis Pride? Together With Pride Foundation. Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://www.togetherwithpride.org/who.htm
- Berke, Jamie (2014, June 11). Curtis Pride - Deaf Baseball. About.com Health. Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://deafness.about.com/cs/celebfeatures/a/curtispride.htm
- Curtis Pride Stats, Video Highlights, Photos, Bio. Major League Baseball (MLB). Retrieved 4/8/2015 from http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=120766
- Curtis Pride - Achieving Goals. Video retrieved 4/8/2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq2G7XoFlSo