Homestead Grays were a professional baseball team 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
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
that league lasted only one season. The team operated independently
again until 1932
, when Posey
organized the ill-fated East-West
; that league also collapsed before completing its first
and only season.
Posey entered his Grays in the Negro National League
. With the near-collapse of the
, Josh Gibson
returned to the Grays in 1937
, combining with slugger Buck Leonard
to power the Grays to nine
consecutive (and a total of ten) Negro National League
Championships and three Negro
League World Series
titles. Vic Harris
managed 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
; in 1945
and 1948, and led the 1948 team to the
Negro League World Series
championship. The 1943
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
late 1930s through the 1940s, the Grays played their home games at
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,
- Ray Brown, P,
- Oscar Charleston, OF,
- Martín Dihigo, P, 1928
- Bill Foster, P,
- Josh Gibson, C, 1930-31,
- Judy Johnson, 3B, 1930, 1937
- Buck Leonard, 1B, 1934-50
- Cum Posey, Founder-Owner, 1912-46
- Willie Wells, SS, 1932
- Smokey Joe Williams, P,
- Jud Wilson, 3B, 1929-31, 1941-46
Leonard are listed on the Washington Hall of Stars display at
Park in Washington.
11, 2002, the Homestead High-Level Bridge which crosses the
Monongahela River at Homestead was
renamed the Homestead Grays Bridge in honor of the team.
Several Major League teams have worn Homestead Grays uniforms in
- On May 20, 2006, in Cleveland, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians honored 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 Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers also 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.
- On August 11, 2006, in Washington, the New York Mets and Washington Nationals also
honored the Negro league teams by wearing the uniforms of the
New York Cubans and the Grays,
respectively, during a National League game. The Nationals won the
next night, in Pittsburgh, the St.
Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates wore uniforms of the
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 Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates honored 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
When the Montreal Expos
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. "Grays"
was the personal choice of the D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams
On June 26, 2009, in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Pirates
played the Kansas City Royals
in interleague play
. The Pittsburgh Pirates
wore uniforms of the
Homestead Grays, while the Royals wore the uniforms of the Kansas City Monarchs
. The Pirates won
the game, 5-3. It was also the first major league win for starting
pitcher and recent call up, Virgil
since August 31, 2007.
The DC Grays, a collegiate summer team based in Washington, DC are
named in honor of the team.
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Homestead Span
Honors Baseball Team", July 12, 2002
- MLB.com, "Brewers Honor Negro Leagues", June 2,
- MLB.com, "Nats, Mets Recognize Negro Leagues",
August 11, 2006
- USA Today, "In Washington, it'll be 'Let's
go Nats'", November 22, 2004. Accessed April 17, 2008.
- The Washington Post, "Baseball's Coming
Back to Washington", September 30, 2004. Accessed April 17,
- 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
— Latest attempt to name the Washington Major League Baseball Team
after the Grays