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All-Time Greatest Team

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth (Outfielder)

George Herman Ruth, Jr. (February 6, 1895 - August 16, 1948), best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914-1935. In 1936, Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Gus Greenlee Field


Serving as home from 1932 to 1938 to two of the Negro Leagues' most successful franchises, the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Greys, Gus Greenlee Field opened in Pittsburgh in 1932 with a seating capacity of 7,500.  In addition to housing the Crawfords and Greys, Greenlee Field served as the practice site for the National Football League's Pittsburgh Pirates, who later became known as the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Originally a sandlot team, the Crawfords played their home games at various local facilities such as Forbes Field and Ammon Field before being purchased by local black businessman Gus Greenlee.  Greenlee built the stadium named after him for the Crawfords at a cost of $100,000, making his team the first black-owned franchise to play its home games in a black-owned ballpark.  Greenlee Field provided players amenities such as locker rooms and showers they were denied whenever they performed in white-owned ballparks.  In 1933, Greenlee Field became one of the first ballparks to install a permanent lighting system.


Since Greenlee Field was demolished after the 1938 season, its dimensions have come into considerable question through the years.  However, the consensus seems to be that the ballpark's dimensions were similar to those of Pittsburgh's Forbes Field, only that Greenlee Field was somewhat larger.  As a basis for comparison, Forbes Field, which served as home to the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1909 to 1970, had a left field wall that stood 360 feet from home plate, a portion of the wall in deepest left-center that required a blast of more than 462 feet to clear, a center field wall that stood 442 from the batter's box, and dimensions of 376 feet to straightaway right field and an even 300 feet down the right field foul line.  Greenlee Field's outfield fence was made of tin.


The successful teams that Greenlee Field housed enabled the ballpark to consistently surpass the 200,000-mark in annual attendance.  The Crawfords, who are considered by many baseball historians to be among the greatest teams of any color ever assembled, featured future Hall-of-Famers Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston and James "Cool Papa" Bell at different times during that period.  Paige reportedly pitched in the Crawfords' first game, losing 1-0 to the New York Black Yankees.  Pittsburgh later won back-to-back Negro National League pennants in 1935 and 1936, before several of the team's top stars subsequently left for Santo Domingo to play for dictator Molina Trujillo.


Gibson, Bell and Johnson returned to Greenlee Field in 1938 to play for the Homestead Greys, giving the team a squad that rivaled the one that took the field for the Crawfords just a few years earlier.  Homestead's lineup featured first baseman Buck Leonard, outfielder Martin Dihigo, and pitcher "Smokey" Joe Williams.  The Greys won eight consecutive pennants from 1938 to 1945, continuing their period of dominance after they moved to Forbes Field in 1939.  Owner Gus Greenlee sold the Crawfords to a group of white businessmen at the conclusion of the 1938 campaign, leading to the demolition of Greenlee Field shortly thereafter.

Facts & Figures

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