Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pittsburgh: Negro Baseball Flourished Here

Heinz Histroy Center

A recent visit to the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offered a welcome look into the city’s past sports glories. A permanent exhibit features the two Negro League Baseball teams that were the nation’s very best during the 1930s and 40s. Barred from playing in the white Major Leagues, Black players competed in their own leagues with teams that featured some of the greatest baseball talents of all time.

Pittsburgh had two teams -- the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords. During the half-century that sport in America was divided by race, African Americans created a baseball world of their own. With Cool Papa Bell flying around the base-paths, Josh Gibson hitting balls farther than anyone had before, and Satchel Paige striking out the side, this city became the center of black baseball in the Americas.

Pittsburgh alone had two Negro League franchises. In 1900, steelworkers in Homestead formed a club that became known as the Homestead Grays. Native son Cumberland Posey Jr. joined them as a player in 1911. Posey made them the best black club in the region and ultimately one of the greatest anywhere. In 1925, youth on the Hill (the Hill District is located just East of Downtown) formed a rival team, sponsored by the Crawford Bath House. The Crawfords battled the Grays for local supremacy. After numbers baron (illegal lottery) Gus Greenlee took them on, the Crawfords joined the Negro National League, and fielded a club that ranks among baseball’s best ever.

The Pittsburgh teams won more than a dozen Negro League Championships, with the Grays winning nine straight (1937—1945). Most of the Negro Leaguers in the Baseball Hall of Fame played for one or both of these teams.

Denied the chance to play in the white Major Leagues until 1947 (when Jackie Robinson was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers), these Negro Leaguers were also excluded from baseball’s Hall of Fame until 1971.

Founded in 1912, the Homestead Grays team was made up of “Old Pittsburghers,” as the migrants from the upper South and their descendants were known. Many of the Grays held skilled jobs at the Homestead Steel Works.

The team came into its own during the late 1930s. Playing in Pittsburgh and Washington D.C., they won nine Negro National League pennants in a row (1937-1945), as well as the last Negro League World Series ever played, in 1948. With Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson anchoring their feared lineup, the Grays became a black baseball dynasty.

The Crawfords team was formed in 1925. City league champs, they became known on the Hill as the “little” Homestead Grays. After Josh Gibson and several players from the Edgar Thomson Steel Works team joined them, the Crawfords rivaled the Grays.

In 1930, Gus Greenlee took on the team and signed Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, and other stars. He re-formed the Negro National League and built Greenlee Field, the first and finest black-controlled ballpark in the nation, on the Hill.

The Crawfords might have been baseball’s best
team ever, but the club fell apart after many of its players jumped to teams in the Dominican Republic in 1937.

During the late 1930s through the 1940s the Grays played their home games at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field, then home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, during this same period the club adopted the Washington, D.C. area as its "home away from home" and scheduled many of its "home" games at Washington's Griffith Stadium, then home park of the Washington Senators. The Grays disbanded after the 1950 season.

In 1972, Josh Gibson, catcher and power hitter, who played for both the Crawfords and Grays,
and Buck Leonard, first baseman for the Grays were both inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 2002, the Homestead High-Level Bridge which crosses the Monongahela River at Homestead was renamed the Homestead Grays Bridge in honor of the team. On June 26, 2009, in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Pirates played the Kansas City Royals in an inter league game. The Pittsburgh Pirates wore uniforms of the Homestead Grays, while the Royals wore the uniforms of the Kansas City Monarchs. The Pirates won the game, 5-3.
Satchell Paiges Glove

Plan to visit Pittsburgh and the Senator John Heinz History Center. View these websites for more information:

Senior Travel Editor

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Charl Schwartzel Wins 2011 Masters

Getty Images

South African Charl Schwartzel biride his last four holes to win the 2011 Masters. Schwartzel weathered a charge from 4-time Tiger Woods and a host of other world class players including Adam Scott, Jason Day, and Luke Donald.

Schwartzel won the 75th Masters on the 50th anniversary of Gary Players first Masters victory.

The saying is that the Masters doesn't start until the back 9 on sunday and that's is exactly the casde at the 2011 Masters Tournament. Woods is chasing leader Rory Mcilroy currently 2-shots back along with 2009 Masters Champion Angel Cabrera, Aussie adam Scott, Luke Donald and K.J Choi.

Has there every been a 5 way playoff at the Masters? I don't think so But stay tuned folks this tournament is far from over !

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The second week in April is a special time for all golf fans. It marks the first Major Championship of the golf season and in my opinion the most special event of the entire year. The sleepy town of Augusta Georgia blossoms into a vibrant Mecca of the golf world.

Patrons as the National likes to call them, assembly along Washington Road to experience the splender and granduer of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament. A few steps away from the National as locals like to call it; rests the Lodge on Magnolia. In order to truly experience the Masters a visit to the lodge is must.

This local institution is the epitome of class and offers visitors the true Masters experience. With a rustic feel combined with top notch service and amenties the lodge on Magnolia is the ultimate Masters experience. The staff is friendly, the food is best in the Augusta and the experience is unforgettable.

To call the Lodge on Magnolia Corporate Hospitality is diservice. Regardless of wether you are the CEO of a major corporation or just a fan of the Masters; the Lodge on Magnolia is the best place to experience the majesty of the best tournament that golf has to offer.

If you come to Augusta Georgia to view the splendor of the Augusta National, book a spot at he Lodge on Magnolia, take a shuttle or make the short walk across Washintgton Road and enjoy the Masters Tournament, knowing after the gates close you can reflect and still experience your special day at the most relaxing venue in Augusta. The Lodge on Magnolia is a true gem and a must for anyone that truly wants the Masters experience.

For more information about the Lodge on Magnolia please visit:

Edward S. Wanambwa

Senior Editor,African American Golfers Digest

Friday, April 8, 2011

Real Time 2011 Masters Updates

Edward Wanambwa Senior Editor of the African American Golfers Digest is live at the 75th Masters.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On an absolutely beautiful day at Augusat National the 75th Masters Tournament got underway. All of the pre round speculation was about how Tiger Woods would fare in this years event, but Northern Ireland's Rory Mcilroy stole the headlines charging up the leaderboard with a blistering 7-under par 65. Mcilroy played an amazing bogey free round that included five missed birdie putts. One can only imagine how low he could have gone had a few more putts rolled in. Long hitting Spainard Alvaro Qiuros macthed Mcilory with a 7-under par 65. Quiors absolutley smasehed the golf ball around Augusta National carding his best round at Augusta NAtional Defending Champion Phil Mickelson finished with a 2-under par 70 and is still int contention despite and up and dwon round. 4-time champion Tiger Woods dinished one shot back of mickelson finnishing with a 1-under 71. I amsure that isn't the score Wooods washoping for, but he finished the opening round under par with plenty of golf left to play.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tiger Woods on # 12 Tee Box today

yfrog Photo : Shared by nikegolf

RE: Tree Uprooted by Storm at Augusta National

A sudden and forceful storm swept through the Augusta, GA area late Tueday night, early Wednesday morning causing monor damage and even uprooting a famous tree on Magnolia Lane.

Augusta National, Chairman Billy Payne said that the everything is under control, ground crews and Augusta National staff were on top of the situation and there will be no delay in the beginning of the 75th Masters Tournament on Thursday.

The world famous Magnolia Lane is down one tree from 61 to 60, however I amsure the view is still great.

Edward S. Wanambwa

Senior Editor

African American Golfers Digest

Getty Images

As the beginning of the 75th Masters Tournament arrives, the golf world is in disarray. Former World # 1 currently # 7 and 4-times Masters champion find himself an questionable favorite to win this years, first major. Even after a 4th place finish in last year’s Masters, Woods is still surrounded by doubters and naysayers. Tiger Woods has publicly struggled in 2011 to try and regain the form he once mastered and almost imposed on the rest of the field at will.

In 2011 Woods best finish is a tie for 10th at the WGC Cadillac Championship. His play has been erratic at best. Woods has struggled to hit fairways and greens, while attempting to rely on his spotty short game and streaky putting to save much needed pars. It just doesn’t look like Woods has his golf feet under him at this point in the season. Working with swing coach Sean Foley, Woods simply says “ I am close” and seems content to let that phrase speak for his inconsistent play up until this point.

Defending Champion Phil Mickelson is coming the Masters fresh off a victory at the 2011 Shell Houston Open last week. Lefty is in the perfect position to repeat as Masters Champion and ultimately take control of the golf universe. With a win at Augusta National this year Mickelson will eliminate any discussion as to who the best player in the world should be.

My pick to win the 2011 Masters is (drumroll) Martin Kaymer with Nick Watney a close second. Of course I would be remised to not mention defending champion Phil Mickelson or that old guy Tiger Woods. Remember him? Maybe he can get out of his slump and win Major # 15 this week. Who Knows?

Ed Wanambwa

Senior Editor

African American Golfers Digest

75th Masters Tournament Tee Times

Getty Images 2011 Masters Tournament Tee Times Thursday April 7th 2011