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Homestead Grays

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    Homestead Grays is one of the greatest teams in baseball’s Negro Leagues. The term Negro Leagues refers to organized baseball played by blacks in the early and mid-1900s, when they were barred from major league competition. The Grays played professionally from 1924 to 1949 and were based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The club was a member of the Negro National League (NNL) from 1935 through 1948 and won 12 pennants and three Negro World Series championships during that time.

    The team that became the Homestead Grays got its start in 1900 as a group of sandlot players called the Blue Ribbons. Air jordan 12 à vendre. In 1910 the players voted to become the Homestead Grays, a reference to the Homestead Steel Works where many of the ballplayers worked. The Grays played for fun rather than money at first. In 1913 the team won 42 games in a row against local ball clubs.

    The Grays’ success attracted the best black ballplayers in Pittsburgh. By the 1920s the club paid salaries to their star players to keep other teams from signing them. Willis Cumberland “Cum” Posey, a young outfielder who joined the Grays in 1911, became the team’s captain in 1916 and owner of the club in the early 1920s. With Posey at the helm, the Homestead Grays became a professional baseball club.

    From 1924 until the club’s demise in 1949, the Grays consistently filled their roster with star players and were ranked one of the top Negro League clubs. One of the early stars was Charles “Lefty” Williams, Nike Air Max Lunar90 Blanc Royale Bleu Rouge 631762-007, who pitched 18 seasons for the Grays. Williams threw 17 no-hitters during his career and in 1930 he won 29 games without a loss. Baseball Hall of Fame member Josh Gibson, the Negro Leagues’ greatest catcher, played for the Grays in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1931 he hit 75 home runs. Buck Leonard, another member of the Hall of Fame, was the Grays’ regular first baseman from 1934 until 1948. Leonard compiled a .328 batting average over 15 seasons. The Grays’ Hall of Fame list also includes Oscar Charleston, Martín Dihigo, Cool Papa Bell, and Judy Johnson.

    In 1929 the Homestead Grays joined the American Negro League (ANL), but they dropped out the following season as the league folded under the economic hardships of the Great Depression (1930s). The Grays continued to play as an independent team until 1932, when Posey and other team owners tried to establish a new Negro League called the East-West League, but the league disbanded after one season. The club joined the Negro National League in 1935 and won the first of 12 NNL pennants in 1937. The Grays’ three Negro World Series titles include a victory in the final Series, played in 1948. The Grays defeated the Birmingham (Alabama Black Barons in that Series, five games to one.

    In the 1930s the Grays began to share Forbes Field with Pittsburgh’s major league team, the Pirates. At that time, the Grays’ biggest rival in the NNL was the powerful Pittsburgh Crawfords club. Many players jumped back and forth between the two clubs, depending on which team offered them the higher salary. After the Crawfords left Pittsburgh in 1939, the Grays became the NNL’s leading club. The Grays were popular not only in Pittsburgh but also on the East Coast. During World War II (1939-1945) the Grays traveled to Washington, D.C., to play half of their home games in Griffith Stadium, the park where the Senators, Washington’s major league club, also played.

    The team’s fortunes changed with Posey’s death in 1946. The popularity of Negro League baseball declined sharply after the integration of the major leagues, which began in 1947 when Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The NNL disbanded in 1948 and the Homestead Grays folded in 1949.

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