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Formed in the steel town of Homestead, Pennsylvania, in 1912 by former player Cumberland Posey, the Homestead Grays would become one of baseball's greatest clubs and gate attractions, operating for thirty-eight seasons.
At this time, major league baseball banned African American players; only in other leagues could they compete professionally. By 1935 the Grays were playing in the Negro National League. In 1937 hitting catcher Josh Gibson returned to the Grays from the Pittsburgh Crawfords and teamed with slugger Buck Leonard to lead them to an unprecedented nine Negro League championships.
The major league's ban on black players ended in 1947, when Jackie Robinson opened the season as starting first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Negro National League collapsed soon thereafter. The Grays struggled as an independent club for two years, but disbanded at the close of the 1950 season.