In honor of Black History Month, learn more about the Homestead Grays with Ernie Kyger—Van Metre’s Resident Lifestyle Blogger, resident baseball aficionado, and member of our Diversity & Inclusion Council.
- Until 1947, the Major leagues of baseball were segregated, and players of color were not allowed.
- The Negro Leagues were formed in the early 1900's. These were United States professional baseball
leagues comprising teams of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans.
- The Homestead Grays (also known as Washington Grays or Washington Homestead Grays) were a professional baseball team that played in the Negro Leagues. They originated in Homestead, Pennsylvania. They began as a team of black steel workers from that town.
- They were good and developed a large following very quickly. The owner of the team, Cumberland Posey, began to play most of their games in Washington, DC, where there was a much larger African American population.
- The Grays were an instant hit in DC, often outdrawing the Major League Washington Senators in attendance.
- The Grays won ten Negro National League Titles (1937, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 1945 and 1948) and three Negro League World Series Titles (1943 and1944 and 1948), where they played the champion of the Negro American League.
- In 1972, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame finally recognized the stars of the Negro Leagues as several Homestead Grays players were inducted. These players are honored at Nat’s Park today.
- In 1947, when the Brooklyn Dodgers added Jackie Robinson to their roster, the best of the black and white players could play together.
- Every team in Major League Baseball honors Jackie Robinson, as his number 42 graces every ballpark, and on Baseball’s annual “Jackie Robinson Day,” every player wears number 42.