The Homestead Grays club is, perhaps, black baseball’s most storied franchise. Formed in 1912 by Cumberland Posey, the Grays would be in continuous operation for 38 seasons.
Favoring independent play to the constraints of a league structure Posey abstained from participation in league play until 1932 when he himself organized the ill-fated East-West League. Reflecting the economic plight of the nation at that time the league collapsed before completing its first and only season.
Ultimately recognizing the financial benefits of affiliating with a strong league organization, Posey entered his Grays in the Negro National League in 1935. While the all-star lineup of the Pittsburgh Crawfords kept the Grays well out of pennant competition during their first two seasons in the NNL, the tide turned in 1937.
With the near collapse of the Crawfords, Josh Gibson returned to the Grays in 1937 and combined with slugger Buck Leonard to power the Grays to nine consecutive Negro National League championships and three Negro World Series titles. After the collapse of the Negro National League after the 1948 season, the Grays struggled to continue as an independent club but ultimately disbanded at the close of the 1950 season.
During 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.