There are some people who rub their chins at the success of Darius Rucker in country music. I have two words for those people: Charley Pride. Pride was the first Black to enjoy great success in the contemporary country world. He scored 39 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. In 1967, he became the first Black to make an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry since harmonica player DeFord Bailey had appeared in 1925. He has since become one of only three Blacks to be inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He has received numerous awards such as: the Country Music Association (CMA) Male Vocalist of the Year in 1971 and 1972, CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1971, and two Grammy Awards; Best Country Male Vocal Performance, Male and Best Gospel Performance (other than soul) both in 1972. He has been honored with the Pioneer Award in 1994 by the Academy of Country Music Awards and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2000.
Another interesting fact about Pride is that before he pursued music, he was a professional baseball player who played in the Negro American League. He was one of 30 former Negro League Players who were ‘drafted’ by Major League Baseball teams in 2008 in recognition of their on-field achievements.