Home > Western PA Sports Museum at the History Center-Negro League Exhibit

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The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, a museum-within-a-museum located on the History Center’s second and third floors, celebrates Western Pennsylvania’s unsurpassed sports legacy. From football to baseball and hockey to golf, the Sports Museum highlights the region’s passion for amateur and professional sports.
 
Negro League Exhibit Must-Sees!
  • Negro League Theater: Enjoy a short film narrated by Hall of Famer Joe Morgan called, “Something to Cheer About: The Negro Leagues in Pittsburgh.”
  • Satchel Paige’s glove: One of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, Paige competed in the Negro Leagues for almost two decades, starring for many teams, including the Pittsburgh Crawfords during the mid-1930s.
  • Greenlee Field: Take a virtual tour of the first black-built and owned baseball field in the U.S. The 7,500-seat Greenlee Field was named after the Crawfords’ owner, Gus Greenlee, who helped finance the park’s construction in the Hill District in 1932.

Negro League Baseball

1957 Satchel Paige's Glove

One of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige competed in the Negro Leagues for almost two decades, starting for numerous teams including the Pittsburgh Crawfords in the mid-1930s. In 1948 at the age of 42, Paige became the oldest player to debut in the Major Leagues when Bill Veeck signed him to the Cleveland Indians. Later in his career while playing for the AAA Miami Marlins in 1957, the 51-year-old Paige befriended East McKeesport, Pa., native and teammate Tom Qualters. When the Philadelphia Phillies called up Qualters, Paige gave him this glove.

Credit: Courtesy of Tom Qualters

Negro League Baseball

(From the Heinz Museum-Western PA Sports Museum)

As home to two of the Negro League’s most dominant teams – the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords – Pittsburgh was once the center of Negro League baseball.

From 1937 to 1945, with the help of future Hall of Famers like Josh Gibson, “Cool Papa” Bell, Judy Johnson, and Buck Leonard, the Homestead Grays won an unprecedented nine consecutive league pennants and three Negro League World Series titles.

The Crawfords rose to prominence after Gus Greenlee bought the team in 1931 with profits from his popular night club, the Crawford Grill, and winnings from running the “numbers game.” Greenlee stocked his team with some of the best African American talent in baseball, enticing players such as Gibson and Oscar Charleston to leave the Homestead Grays to come play for the Crawfords. With a stacked roster, the Crawfords developed into one of the best teams in baseball, peaking with a Negro National League championship in 1935.

The legacy of Pittsburgh’s Negro League teams is evident inside the walls of Cooperstown, as 15 players from the Grays and Crawfords are enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

1929 Pittsburgh Crawfords. Gift of Zerbie Dorsey Swain.

Artifact Spotlight: Homestead Grays jersey

Homestead Grays uniform

The Homestead Grays wore various uniforms during its 50 years as a team. This uniform was worn by Clarence Bruce, a second baseman for the Grays from 1946 to 1948.

 

Contact the Museum Click Here

 

Source: History Museum

 

 

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