The cornerstone of Gus Greenlee‘s new Negro National League in 1933, the Crawfords fielded some of the strongest lineups in baseball history during the 1930s. The East team roster of the 1933 East-West All-Star game looked very much like the everyday Crawfords lineup, featuring no fewer than five future Hall-Of-Famers including Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, and Judy Johnson.
Owned by Pittsburgh gambling and numbers racketeer Gus Greenlee, the Crawfords was the nest financed team in black baseball during its early years. Revenue generated from his “business” operations allowed Greenlee to sign black baseball’s biggest names. It also enabled him to build his own ballpark, Gus Greenlee Field, in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.