With the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame induction this past weekend, it made me realize that many of our favorite country stars have not only stolen the stage, but they have stolen their fair share of bases in their heydays. These artists haven’t just practiced in garages with bands, they’ve practiced on diamonds with their teammates. Which of Nashville’s country music future hall of famers traded in their baseball caps and cleats for cowboy hats and boots, foregoing a Cooperstown Hall of Fame induction? Check out these seven swinging and singing studs below who gripped bats before they held microphones:
1. Jason Aldean
As the first baseman on his high school baseball team, Jason Aldean played well enough to earn a partial college scholarship. However, he intentionally walked out of the game to pursue music full time.
2. Frankie Ballard
Before becoming a country music star, Frankie Ballard had a Major League career in sight. Frankie was focused on playing baseball for Western Michigan University until a musical curve ball was thrown to this starting shortstop and leadoff hitter, causing him to jump out of the batter’s box and take the position of singer.
3. Brian Kelley (Florida Georgia Line)
Before Brian Kelley was the Florida side of the Florida Georgia Line, he went to Florida State on a baseball scholarship and focused on his time between the baselines. Though he spent a lot of time “playing” left bench, he played guitar at the First Baptist Church in downtown Tallahassee, eventually scratching himself off the lineup and becoming a starter in music.
4. Joe Nichols
Joe Nichols played baseball right up until his first single came out. Not only did Joe play in high school, but he played in a city league in Nashville. When his first single, “The Impossible,” came out, his league benched Joe, but he didn’t retreat to “Brokenheartsville” when that happened. Instead, he packed his gear and swapped it out for a guitar.
5. Scotty McCreery
Scotty McCreery, graduate of Garner High School, not only showed his talents on the stage during his four years at the school, but he also shined on the mound. Though his team was eliminated during state playoffs of his senior year, Scotty still left high school a champion. You might have heard of a little show called American Idol…
6. Garth Brooks
I couldn’t resist. I just couldn’t. I’m sorry. Garth, I love you, but you are royalty in country music, not in Kansas City. While the baseball stint Garth hoped would go positively resulted in this legend getting picked off, fans did the wave when Garth returned to music. Hey Garth, sometimes I thank God for your unanswered prayers.
7. Charley Pride
Before he was a country icon, Charley Pride played baseball for the Negro American League. Charley went minor league team hopping for a bit, but once he realized he wasn’t going to see his Baseball Hall of Fame day, he changed his stance and strived for the Country Music Hall of Fame instead. Luckily, Charley hit a home run in music and was inducted in 2000. However, Charley didn’t completely strikeout in the world of baseball. In 2010, he became a minority owner of the Texas Rangers (ahem, my team, ahem).
The man who inspired Tim McGraw’s most popular song to date, “Live Like You Were Dying,” was a relief pitcher in the Major Leagues. He is likely best remembered for recording the final out (a strikeout) against the Kansas City Royals in the 1980 World Series, bringing the Philadelphia Phillies their first world championship. Tim honored his late father, who passed away from brain cancer in 2004, in his music video for the hit song.
Which other country music stars left the diamond to strive for platinum? Let us know by following us on Twitter @CMchatLIVE.
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