Charley Pride played professional baseball in Missoula in 1960.
It’s a fairly well-known story here, part of the lore of the Missoula Timberjacks who brought pro ball to Campbell Field at a corner of South and Higgins avenues from 1956 to 1960.
The Missoula Osprey honor the Timberjack story these summer days at Saturday home games by donning white Jacks uniforms with green piping.
The other part of the Pride-in-Missoula story is that the pitcher and outfielder from rural Mississippi didn’t play here long. He was released after three appearances.
He spent most of the rest of the decade in Helena and Great Falls, playing semipro ball while raising a family, working at the East Helena smelter and launching a singing career that landed him in the Country Music Hall of Fame. He’s one of just three blacks to attain that honor.
“We spent seven and a half years in Helena, and then two and a half years in Great Falls,” Pride said in a 2014 interview from his home in Dallas with Missoulian freelancer Brian D’Ambrosio. “It was about a month short total of 10 years in Montana. I