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Pitttsburgh Crawfords
Pitttsburgh Crawfords
Oil on canvas

In 2015 ESPN Senior writer David Schoenfield compiled a list of the ten greatest Negro League players. He added another seven listed as honorable mention candidates. Of the 17 total players listed five were teammates on the Pittsburgh Crawfords in the 1930s.

Named after the Crawford Grill Nightclub—considered one of the best jazz clubs in the east and owed by businessman Gus Greenlee—the Crawfords were one of the strongest Negro league teams ever assembled.

Winning League titles in 1935 and 1936 the "Craws" included some of baseball's most legendary players; Leroy "Satchel" Paige, Josh Gibson, Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, Judy Johnson, James "Cool Papa" Bell, and Oscar Charleston. Player defections, however, decimated the team as other clubs poached the Craws' best players. Some players were even lured to play for Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo's personal team, Ciudad Trujillo, even though armed guards followed them everywhere and lined the field during games.