The Hill District: Pittsburgh CrawfordsPittsburgh Crawfords
CAPTION: Base Ball Club, Crawford Recreation Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Pittsburgh Crawfords Teams
Under the ownsership of Gus Greenlee, the Pittsburgh Crawfords were called the "Yankees of Black Baseball" and were ranked with the best teams for five years. This season was the first great Pittsburgh Crawfords team. Manager-firstbaseman Oscar Charleston was joined on the roster by Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Jud Wilson, Rap Dixon and Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe...

The team most identified as the greatest black baseball team of all-time is the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords. For five years, 1932-36, Gus Greenlee's Crawfords were the "Yankees of the Negro Leagues" and each year's squad draws some votes as the greatest of all-time. However, the 1935 team, which featured five Hall-of-Famers in the lineup, is considered the best, with Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson and Satchel Paige. Although Paige jumped to a white semio-pro team in Bismarck, North Dakota during the season, the team was so strong that they continued to win without him. Lefthander Leroy Matlock assumed the role as ace of the staff and fashioned an outstanding record. Flanking Bell in the outfield were Sam Bankhead and Jimmie Crutchfield, giving the Crawfords one of the fastest outfields ever to play baseball. The Crawfords easily won the first half title with a .785 winning percentage and defeated the New York Cubans in a seven-game play-off for the Championship.
- TK Publishers and BlackBaseball.Com
  • Crawford County,Pa minutes
  • James Crawford, whose name opens this sketch was born about 1812, in County Down, Ireland, and came to America with the family. In early life he settled in Pittsburgh, Penn..... more

Crawford Grill

Concert Hall 2141 Wylie Ave. Pittsburgh , PA. 15219 Phone: 412-471-1565


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Gus Greenlee
Gus Greenlee

Just a few miles from Homestead [Pennsylvania], on the north side of Pittsburgh, is an area known as the Hill District, home to the city's black community. At the corner of Crawford and Wylie Avenues stood the Crawford Grille, which as owned by a man named W.A. (Gus) Greenlee... A veteran of World War I, Greenlee moved from Marion, North Caroline, to Pittsburgh in 1920. Several years later he opened the Grille, a two-story restaurant and dance hall that on any given night might have featured the swingin' sounds of Duke Ellington or Count Basie or any of the eras top jazzmen. Greenle had no involvement in baseball until 1930, when he began sponsoring the Crawford Colored Giants, a local semipro team..

Crawford Grill
Meyer, M. E. "Hill Street Jazz: Crawford Grill Takes Jazz Back Where It Started," In Pittsburgh, 11 May 1988, 4-5.

Pittsburgh Crawfords & Homestead Grays
Bankes, James. "The Pittsburgh Crawfords: The Lives and Times of Black Baseball's Most Exciting Team." Dubuque: Wm. C. Brown Publishers, 1991.

Sanchez, Annette Bassett. "Kings on The Hill...Crawfords Subject of Black Baseball Documentary," New Pittsburgh Courier, 11 April 1992

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