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The Homestead Grays were a Negro League baseball team founded in 1910 as a recreational team and by 1916 became a renowned semi-pro team in its local area. [1] The team utilized Greenlee field in the 1930’s. [2] The team flowed from being independent to the American Negro League, back to being independent, and then joined the National Negro League until its last bout of independence before disbanding in 1950. The team won the NNL pennant nine times and three Colored World Series. [3]

  • Homestead Grays Logo.
  • Homestead Grays uniform.
  • Josh Gibson, catcher for the Homestead Grays
  • Buck Leonard, first baseman for the Homestead Grays
  • Cumberland "Cum" Posey, player, manager, and business manager for the Homestead Grays.

The Homestead Grays were initially started as a recreational team in 1910 for black steel mill workers in Homestead, Pennsylvania, and after Cumberland Posey became the business and field manager for the team, they began their long history as one of Negro League’s most dynamic teams. They maintained operation in and out of independence and various leagues for 38 seasons, disbanding after the 1950 season. [4] The team won nine Negro League championships from 1937 until 1945[5] and three Colored World Series in 1943, 1945, and 1948.

            During the time of their nine season championship run, the Grays had obtained catcher Josh Gibson and first baseman Buck Leonard, known as “the Ruth and Gehrig of Black baseball.”[6] The team was able to obtain Josh Gibson after the Pittsburgh Crawfords sold him to the Grays due to political happenings in Pittsburgh’s city government.[7] Also known as the “Thunder Twins,” the two led the Homestead Grays to the height of their performance and during their time as a nine year champion in the Negro League until Gibson died suddenly in 1947. Gibson led the League in home runs for thirteen years with a batting average of .351 and Leonard was considered the best first basemen in baseball. He was even compared to the Yankees’ Gehrig (hence the nickname) and was also a great hitter, averaging over .300 in most of his 20 year long career. Together these two were considered a “nightmare for pitchers.” [8]

            The Grays had established their place in history as one of the greatest teams in all of black baseball, but like the other Negro League teams and other black baseball teams, would soon fizzle out with the breaking of the color barrier by Jackie Robinson.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]