- Pittsburgh Crawfords
- Second Negro National League (1933-1938)
Ballpark Titles League titles 1935, 1936
The Pittsburgh Crawfords, popularly known as the Craws, were a professional Negro league baseball team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Named after the Crawford Grill, a club in the Hill District of Pittsburgh owned by Gus Greenlee, the Crawfords were originally a youth semipro team sponsored by the Crawford Bath House and Recreation Center. Greenlee bought the team in 1931.
Stepping into an organizational vacuum, as the major African American leagues of the 1920s, the Negro National League and the Eastern Colored League, had fallen apart by late that year, Greenlee signed many of the top African-American stars, most notably Satchel Paige. The next year, 1932, saw Greenlee hire Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston as playing manager, and add Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, and Cool Papa Bell, along with other notable players, such as William Bell, Rap Dixon, and Ted Radcliffe. Playing as an independent club, the Crawfords immediately established themselves as perhaps the best black team in the United States.
The Crawfords played in the new Greenlee Field, one of the few parks built and owned by a Negro league team. Paige and Gibson often unwound at the Crawford Grill, one of black Pittsburgh's favorite night spots, where the likes of Lena Horne and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson entertained.
In 1933, Greenlee founded a new Negro National League, with the Crawfords as charter members. The club narrowly lost the first-half title to the Chicago American Giants; both teams claimed the second-half title, and Greenlee as league president awarded it to his Crawfords. The matter of the overall pennant was apparently never decided. The next season, as Gibson led the league with 16 home runs and Paige won 20 games, the Crawfords were near the top of the overall standings, but won neither half. Records of all games against league opponents, not just those considered official league games, show the Crawfords with far and away the best record for 1934.
In 1935 Paige skipped most of the NNL season to play for a semipro team in North Dakota. Despite his absence, the Crawfords finally lived up to their promise, taking the first-half title with a 26-6 record, then defeating the New York Cubans in a close seven-game series for their only undisputed NNL pennant. In retrospect, many historians consider this edition of the Crawfords to be the greatest Negro league team of all time, featuring the four Hall of Famers, plus left-handed pitcher Leroy Matlock, who won 18 games without a defeat.
After a mediocre first half (16-15) in 1936, the Crawfords rallied to win the NNL's second half with a 20-9 record. Paige had returned, and contributed an 11-3 record. The playoff with the first-half winners, the Washington Elite Giants, apparently only lasted one game (the Elite Giants winning, 2 to 0) before it was called off for unknown reasons. Greenlee awarded the pennant to the Crawfords, over Washington's protests.
In 1937, Paige led several Crawfords players, including Gibson and Bell, to the Dominican Republic to play for the dictator Rafael Trujillo's team. The Crawfords plunged to fifth place out of six teams with a 12-16 record. They partly recovered the next season, finishing third with a 24-16 record, but, with the exception of the 41-year-old Charleston, whose playing career was nearly over, the heart of the old Crawfords' team—Paige, Gibson, Bell—had all moved on to other teams.
The Craws might have survived these losses, but their attendance flatlined after the white members of the team's board forced Greenlee to shut out blacks from jobs at Greenlee Field (ushers, ticket-takers, etc.). Greenlee sold the club, Greenlee Field was demolished, and the Crawfords moved to Toledo for the 1939 season before folding.
MLB throwback jerseys
On June 28, 2008, in Pittsburgh, the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates honored the Negro leagues by wearing uniforms of the Jacksonville Red Caps and the Crawfords, respectively, in an interleague game. The Pirates won the game, 4-3 in 13 innings.
On July 5, 2008 during the Pittsburgh Pirates game against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Pirates wore Pittsburgh Crawford uniforms while the Brewers wore the respective Negro league uniforms of the Milwaukee Bears.
On June 12, 2010, in Detroit, during an interleague game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers, the Pirates wore Pittsburgh Crawford uniforms while the Tigers wore the respective Negro league uniforms of the Detroit Stars.
On August 21, 2010 during the Pittsburgh Pirates game against the New York Mets, the Pirates wore Pittsburgh Crawford uniforms while the Mets wore the respective Negro league uniforms of the New York Cubans.
Negro league baseball Negro National
League (1920–1931)Birmingham Black Barons57 · Chicago American Giants567 · Chicago Giants · Cleveland Browns · Cleveland Cubs · Cleveland Elite Giants · Cleveland Hornets · Cleveland Tate Stars · Cleveland Tigers · Columbus Buckeyes · Cuban Stars (West)4 · Dayton Marcos · Detroit Stars67 · Indianapolis ABCs57 · Kansas City Monarchs7 · Louisville White Sox5 · Memphis Red Sox57 · Milwaukee Bears · Nashville Elite Giants5 · Pittsburgh Keystones · St. Louis Giants · St. Louis Stars7 · Toledo Tigers
2nd Negro National
League (1933–1948)Bacharach Giants23 · Baltimore Black Sox234 · Baltimore Elite Giants7 · Chicago American Giants157 · Cleveland Red Sox · Columbus Blue Birds · Detroit Stars17 · Homestead Grays234 · New York Black Yankees · New York Cubans7 · Newark Eagles7 · Philadelphia Stars7 · Pittsburgh Crawfords · Washington Black Senators
League (1937–1950s)Atlanta Black Crackers · Baltimore Elite Giants6 · Birmingham Black Barons15 · Chicago American Giants156 · Cincinnati Tigers · Cleveland Buckeyes · Cleveland Giants · Detroit Stars16 · Houston Eagles6 · Indianapolis ABCs15 · Indianapolis Athletics · Indianapolis Clowns · Indianapolis Crawfords · Jacksonville Red Caps · Kansas City Monarchs1 · Louisville Buckeyes · Memphis Red Sox15 · New Orleans Crescent Stars · New York Cubans6 · Philadelphia Stars6 · St. Louis Stars1
NOTE: All teams that played in an organized league listed above also played as an independent or barnstorming team before, during, and/or after joining a league.
1-also played in NNL · 2-also played in ECL · 3-also played in ANL · 4-also played in EWL · 5-also played in NSL · 6-also played in NNL2 · 7-also played in NAL
Defunct sports teams based in Pennsylvania BaseballMajor Leagues American League: Philadelphia Athletics - National Association of Professional Base Ball Players: Philadelphia White Stockings • Philadelphia Centennials - American Association: Philadelphia Athletics - Union Association: Altoona Mountain Citys • Philadelphia Keystones • Pittsburgh Stogies - Negro Leagues: Harrisburg Giants • Hilldale Daisies • Philadelphia Pythians • Philadelphia Stars • Philadelphia Tigers • Homestead Grays • Pittsburgh Crawfords - Players' League: Philadelphia Quakers • Pittsburgh Burghers - NABBP: Athletic of Philadelphia - Federal League: Pittsburgh Rebels — Minor Leagues Eastern League: Allentown Brooks • Allentown Cardinals • Allentown Chiefs • Allentown Red Sox • Johnstown Johnnies • Johnstown Red Sox • Lancaster Red Roses • Reading Brooks • Reading Red Sox • Scranton Miners • Scranton Red Sox • Wilkes-Barre Indians • York Pirates • York White Roses - New York – Penn League: Erie Cardinals • Erie Orioles • Erie Sailors • Erie Tigers • Williamsport Astros • Williamsport Red Sox - Atlantic League: Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds • Pennsylvania Road Warriors - Northern League: Allentown Ambassadors BasketballABA: Pittsburgh Pipers • Pittsburgh Condors - NABL: Philadelphia Tapers - CBA: Lancaster Red Roses • Pittsburgh Piranhas • Pittsburgh Xplosion - CBL: Wilkes-Barre Barons - USBL: Northeast Pennsylvania Breakers • Philadelphia Aces • Philadelphia Spirit • Pennsylvania ValleyDawgs - ABA (est. 2000): Pittsburgh Phantoms FootballNFL: Frankford Yellow Jackets • Pennsylvania Keystoners • Pottsville Maroons - NFL World War II Mergers: Pitt-Phil "Steagles" (1943) • Chicago-Pittsburgh "Card-Pitt" (1944) - AFL (1926): Philadelphia Quakers - AFL (1936): Pittsburgh Americans - USFL: Philadelphia Stars • Pittsburgh Maulers - World Football League •Philadelphia Bell - NFL (1902): Philadelphia Athletics • Philadelphia Phillies • Pittsburgh Stars - AA: Bethlehem Bulldogs • Wilkes-Barre Bullets • Erie Vets • AL: • Coaldale Big Green • Gilberton Cadamounts • Shenandoah Yellow Jackets • Wilkes-Barre Barons ELPF: • Bethlehem Bears • All-Lancaster Red Roses • Mount Carmel Wolverines • Shenandoah Red Jackets -Independents: Allegheny Athletic Association • Conshohocken Athletic Club • Duquesne Country and Athletic Club • Franklin Athletic Club • Glassport Odds • Greensburg Athletic Association • Holmesburg Athletic Club • Homestead Library & Athletic Club • Jeannette Athletic Club •Latrobe Athletic Association • McKeesport Olympics • Oil City Athletic Club • Pitcairn Quakers • Pittsburgh AC • Pittsburgh Lyceum • Union Club of Phoenixville • Union Quakers of Philadelphia -Arena-Indoor Football AFL: Pittsburgh Gladiators - AIFA: Johnstown Riverhawks • Erie Freeze - NIFL: Johnstown J Dogs HockeyNHL: Philadelphia Quakers • Pittsburgh Pirates - AHL: Erie Blades • Philadelphia Firebirds • Philadelphia Arrows • Philadelphia Ramblers • Philadelphia Rockets • Pittsburgh Hornets - ECHL: Erie Panthers • Johnstown Chiefs - MAHL: Mon Valley Thunder - IHL: Pittsburgh Shamrocks • Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets - WPHL • Pittsburgh Bankers • Pittsburgh Duquesne • Pittsburgh Keystones • Pittsburgh Lyceum • Pittsburgh PAC • Pittsburgh Pirates • Pittsburgh Victorias - NAHL Pittsburgh Forge - RHI: Philadelphia Bulldogs • Pittsburgh Phantoms Soccer Australian Rules FootballUSAFL: Lehigh Valley Crocs • Pittsburgh Wallabies LacrosseCategory: Defunct sports teams in Pennsylvania
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