Curtis Pride - I Felt The Cheers
Curtis Pride - I Felt The Cheers
The remarkable memoir of the first, and only, full-season deaf player in the modern history of Major League Baseball.
The remarkable memoir of the first, and only, full-season deaf player in the modern history of Major League Baseball. Read more
About this project
"How did he do it? How did a guy who was born deaf play over 420 games in the Major Leagues? I often wondered if Curtis would someday share his life story, and I couldn't be happier that he has now decided to do that. I can't wait for this book to be published!"
- Ed Rapuano - Major League Baseball Umpire 1990-2012, MLB Umpire Supervisor 2012-Present
A Personal Message from Curtis
I was born in December 1968, and soon after, tests confirmed that I was 95% deaf. My parents were devastated, and worried that I would spend my life in a silent world of isolation. But as concerned as my parents were, they never gave me any indication that my deafness made me different. My mom and dad created a terrific and normal home life for me and my hearing sisters, and most of the time I didn’t even think I was different than anyone else. It was only in the hearing world, where other kids would sometimes make fun of me, that I had any idea that my deafness set me apart.
The first time I played T-ball at age six, I got a couple of hits, including a home run in my first at bat, and I decided right then and there that I wanted to play baseball some day in the major leagues. But I had no reason to believe my dream could come true, because I had never seen a deaf person playing Major League Baseball. All the way through high school and college, people kept asking me why I was wasting my time chasing what they believed to be an impossible dream. This continued even after I was selected to play for the United States soccer team in the Under-16 World Championships in Beijing, China and, after that tournament, being named one of the top 15 youth soccer players in the entire world.
After I was selected in the 10th round of the professional baseball draft and began trying to rise through the many levels of minor league baseball, I realized I would frequently have to deal with old-school managers and arrogant teammates, none of whom seemed ready to accept the possibility that a deaf player could make it all the way to the major leagues. There were many times those obstacles seemed too big to overcome, and I thought about quitting. But whenever I thought about giving up, I received encouragement from a family member, or a coach or teammate, and that motivation kept me going.
Well, after eight long years in the minor leagues, my parents and all the people who believed in me were in my thoughts at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium when - (as I hope you watched in the above video) – I got my first major league hit. As I stood on second base, the crowd rewarding me with a five minute standing ovation, I thought about all the obstacles I had overcome on my way to that moment, and how many times I had thought about giving up on pursuing my dream.
Other than a faint, garbled noise that I was able to sense with the help of my hearing aid, I, of course, never “heard” the standing ovation of the crowd that night. But as the cheering of over 45,000 people continued, I sensed the stadium begin to shake, and I realized I was actually feeling those vibrations deep inside my chest.
After that memorable major league debut, I then went on to play in 420 more major league games over ten different seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Angels.
And as my career progressed, I found that people were fascinated by my story. Everyone I met, it seemed, had something they considered a shortcoming or a roadblock to success. They wanted to meet me and ask me questions to learn more about how I had overcome what everyone thought were impossible odds to make it all the way to the major leagues.
My publishing of this book will answer those questions and many others, taking readers along for the ride as I fought to overcome the many barriers and obstacles that stood between me and my seemingly impossible dream.
I Felt the Cheers is my unique story, but I believe it will resonate deeply with anyone who has ever felt they were facing a difficult or seemingly insurmountable challenge.
In this book I will bear my soul and share the details of a deaf man’s road to the major leagues. Most importantly, I believe my story is living proof that anyone’s dreams can come true, no matter how impossible those dreams may seem.
What Others Have Said
“He was the most loved guy you ever want to have on your team. He is everywhere he goes.”
- Bobby Cox – Manager, Atlanta Braves 1990-2010, Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame 2014.
“He’s a man. I don’t know what better compliment I can say about him than that.”
- Joe Torre – Manager, New York Yankees 1996-2007, Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame 2014.
“Curtis is a tremendous athlete. He’s got a great baseball mind. He loves the game and knows the game, and that’s the bottom line. To us, he’s a ballplayer. He’s not a deaf ballplayer.”
- Mike Scioscia – Manager, Los Angeles Angels 2000-Present
Pride had the home run ball and the lineup card in his locker, souvenirs from his memorable first game as a Yankee. The rest of us had a reminder of human possibility, and of the great and noble honor in never giving up on a dream….
Pride spoke of the honor of wearing the Yankee pinstripes and playing with Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens and so many other superstars, which made one thing odd yesterday. He seemed oblivious to just how much his new teammates should be honored to be playing with him.
- Lawrence Rocca – Newark Star-Ledger
Curtis Pride had hit a home run as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium in front of 55,000 and teammates were pushing him up the dugout steps and into a curtain call. Pride – born with inoperable nerve deafness – was asked how much he heard of the next moment, at the top of the dugout steps, how much he felt. “I could feel Yankee Stadium vibrating,” Pride said. “Vibrating all around me.”…
Curtis Pride did not hear all that we heard yesterday. He still got the better of the day. We did not feel what he felt.
- Mike Lupica – New York Daily News
I am currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University, the world’s only university specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.
I have very much enjoyed my eight seasons at Gallaudet, and proud that I have established a winning tradition for the baseball program and been able to coach quality student-athletes that represent the highest principles and ideals of Gallaudet and the community.
“As soon as Coach Pride arrived on campus, he raised the Gallaudet University baseball profile immediately. His dedication over the years has helped to create a winning culture and a program we are proud of.”
- Michael Weinstock – Athletic Director, Gallaudet University 2007-Present.
About co-author Doug Ward
Curtis and Doug first met over twelve years ago when Doug was the publications manager for the Los Angeles Angels and wrote a highly-acclaimed feature story about Curtis for the Angels team magazine.
Since that time Doug has written numerous stories about baseball for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com., and several other publications. He also holds the unique distinction of having worked for teams in all four major professional sports. Along with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels, Doug has been a member of the front office of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.
Most importantly, because of their longstanding friendship, Curtis and Doug have developed a high level of mutual trust and feel very comfortable confiding in each other. Thus, they are confident that working closely together they will produce a book that accurately and dramatically captures the unique details of Curtis’s remarkable story.
Doug has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Long Beach State and an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA. He and his wife Heather live in Southern California.
Curtis in the Community
“He's a tremendous inspiration to our kids. I've known him since he was in high school. He's a first-class person.”
- Dennis Gjerdingen – President, 1981 - 2007, Clarke School for the Deaf, Northampton, MA
To see the little faces, and to see them look at him, and say “this man is not going to let obstacles bother him, and neither am I.”
- Ed Watkins – Founder, Mike Bush Fantasy Baseball Camp for the Hearing Impaired, St. Louis, MO
Risks and challenges
Risks are low. Curtis and Doug began writing the book several months ago, and three chapters have already been completed.
In addition, we already have a firm price proposal from a well-established and highly regarded printing company for an initial print run of 10,000 books at a total cost that fits well within our Kickstarter funding goal. We have also set our funding goal at a level that will enable us to provide complimentary, free shipping of the book, as well as free shipping of all the various items in each of the donor categories.
To further minimize risk, meeting and exceeding our Kickstarter goal will enable Curtis and Doug to coordinate and arrange to spend significant time together in person to best complete the book in an efficient and timely manner.
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