Were Negro League teams as good as baseball major league teams?

As evidenced by the consistent success of Negro League squads against their major league counterparts, many Negro League teams were equal to many major league teams. Teams like the Pittsburgh Crawfords of the mid-1930s and the Homestead Grays of the 1940s would have faired well in any league.

Though many Negro League teams fielded a starting nine that would have matched up well with other teams in major league play, Negro League clubs were at some disadvantage. For financial reasons, most Negro League teams could not afford to carry the 24-man rosters that were typical in the majors. Only 14 or 15 players made up most Negro League team rosters. For this reason, Negro League clubs lacked the bench depth of clubs in the major leagues.

Additionally, the Negro Leagues lacked an organized farm system for training young players. Most Negro League players developed their skills while playing with teams in the “lesser” leagues of black baseball or with independent clubs. This training path lacked the resources and organization of the major league farm system.

Scroll to Top