- Homestead Grays
Negro League franchise| Name=Homestead Grays| Caplogo=HomesteadGrays CapLogo.svg| Leagues=
Negro American League(1929) East-West League(1932)Negro National League (1935-48)
Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Buck Leonard
The Homestead Grays were a professional
baseballteam that played in the Negro Leagues in the United States. The team was formed in 1912 by Cumberland Posey, and would remain in continuous operation for 38 seasons. The team was based in Homestead, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
The Grays grew out of an earlier industrial team. In 1900, a group of
African-Americanplayers had joined together to form the Germantown (PA) Blue Ribbons, an industrial league team. For ten years, the Blue Ribbons fielded a team every season and played some of the best sandlot teams in the area. In 1910, the managers of the team retired. The players reorganized the team and named themselves the Murdock Grays. In 1912, they became the Homestead Grays, the name they retained for the remainder of the franchise's history.
The Grays did join the
Negro American Leaguein 1929, but that league lasted only one season. The team operated independently again until 1932, when Posey organized the ill-fated East-West League; that league also collapsed before completing its first and only season.
Posey entered his Grays in the Negro National League in 1935. With the near-collapse of the
Pittsburgh Crawfords, Josh Gibsonreturned to the Grays in 1937, combining with slugger Buck Leonardto power the Grays to nine consecutive (and a total of ten) Negro National League Championships and three Negro League World Seriestitles. Vic Harrismanaged the Grays during their years in league play, between 1935 and 1948, and piloted Homestead to eight pennants. He guided his team to six consecutive pennants from 1937 through 1942; in 1945 and 1948, and led the 1948 team to the Negro League World Serieschampionship. The 1943 and 1944 NLWS titles came under Candy Jim Taylor. Following the collapse of the Negro National League after the 1948 season, the Grays struggled to continue as an independent club, and ultimately disbanded at the close of the 1950 season.
From the late 1930s through the 1940s, the Grays played their home games at Pittsburgh's
Forbes Field, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, during this same period the club adopted the Washington, D.C.area as its "home away from home" and scheduled many of its "home" games at Washington's Griffith Stadium, the home park of the Washington Senators.
Baseball Hall of Famers
Cool Papa Bell, OF, 1932, 1943-46
* Ray Brown, P, 1937-45
Oscar Charleston, OF, 1930-31
Martín Dihigo, P, 1928
* Bill Foster, P, 1931
Josh Gibson, C, 1930-31, 1937-46
Judy Johnson, 3B, 1930, 1937
Buck Leonard, 1B, 1934-50
Cum Posey, Founder-Owner, 1912-46
Willie Wells, SS, 1932
Smokey Joe Williams, P, 1925-32
Jud Wilson, 3B, 1929-31, 1941-46
Gibson and Leonard are listed on the Washington Hall of Stars display at
Nationals Parkin Washington.
On July 11, 2002, the Homestead High-Level Bridge which crosses the
Monongahela Riverat Homestead was renamed the Homestead Grays Bridgein honor of the team. [ [http://www.post-gazette.com/neigh_south/20020712grays5.asp "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette", "Homestead Span Honors Baseball Team", July 12, 2002] ]
Several Major League teams have worn Homestead Grays uniforms in throwback games:
* On May 20, 2006, in Cleveland, the
Pittsburgh Piratesand Cleveland Indianshonored the Negro league teams by wearing the uniforms of the Grays and the Cleveland Buckeyes, respectively, during an inter-league game. The Pirates won the game 9-6.
* On June 2, 2006, in Milwaukee, the
Washington Nationalsand the Milwaukee Brewersalso honored the Negro league teams by wearing the uniforms of the Grays and Milwaukee Bears, respectively, during the first annual Negro Leagues Tribute Night in Milwaukee. The Nationals won the game 10-4. [ [http://www.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060602&content_id=1484546&vkey=news_mil&fext=.jsp&c_id=mil MLB.com, "Brewers Honor Negro Leagues", June 2, 2006] ]
* On August 11, 2006, in Washington, the
New York Metsand Washington Nationals also honored the Negro league teams by wearing the uniforms of the New York Cubansand the Grays, respectively, during a National League game. The Nationals won the game 2-1. [ [http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060811&content_id=1605224&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was MLB.com, "Nats, Mets Recognize Negro Leagues", August 11, 2006] ]
* The next night, in Pittsburgh, the
St. Louis Cardinalsand Pittsburgh Pirates wore uniforms of the St. Louis Stars and Grays, respectively. The Cardinals won the game 3-2.
* The Nationals and Cardinals held a similar event on August 3, 2007 honoring the Grays and Stars.
* On May 3, 2008, in Washington, the
Washington Nationalsand Pittsburgh Pirateshonored the Negro League team by wearing the uniforms of the Grays. The Nationals won the game 9-8. (The PA announcer referred to the teams as the Grays.)
Montreal Exposmoved to Washington, "Grays" was one of the three finalists (along with "Senators" and the eventual winner "Nationals") for the relocated team's new name, reflecting Washington's baseball history. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/nl/expos/2004-11-19-nats-nickname_x.htm "USA Today", "In Washington, it'll be 'Let's go Nats'", November 22, 2004. Accessed April 17, 2008.] ] "Grays" was the personal choice of the D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60095-2004Sep29.html "The Washington Post", "Baseball's Coming Back to Washington", September 30, 2004. Accessed April 17, 2008.] ]
* [http://www.beyondtheshadow.com/ Beyond the Shadow of the Senators] — the website is a companion to the book of the same name, a comprehensive history of the Grays, written by Brad Snyder. The site contains information on the individuals featured in the book and the first chapter of the book.
* [http://graysfan.org/ GraysFan.org] — Latest attempt to name the Washington Major League Baseball Team after the Grays
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