Homestead Grays

Homestead Grays play the New York Black Yankees in Wilson.

On 4 August 1942, the Daily Times printed two short pieces on the extraordinary match-up at Wilson’s Municipal (now Fleming) Stadium — the Homestead Grays vs. the New York Black Yankees!

Grays’ catcher and power hitter Josh Gibson in an undated photograph. AP.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 August 1942.

Buck Leonard at bat, 1945. He and Gibson were known as the Thunder Twins. Now regarded as among the best ever to play the game, neither played Major League baseball. Photo courtesy of National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

The Homestead Grays in 1942, the year they visited Wilson. Getty Images.

Black Yankees Leslie “Chin” Green and Jimmy Ford, 1942. Detail, Getty Images.

Homestead Grays at spring camp.


Pittsburgh Courier, 13 April 1935.


The Homestead Grays were a storied professional baseball team that played in the short-lived American Negro League and then the National Negro League. The team was formed in 1912 by Cumberland Posey (who wrote this article) and remained in continuous operation for 38 seasons. The team was originally based in Homestead, Pennsylvania, crossed the Monongahela River to play all home games in Pittsburgh in the 1920s. Later, they also played home games in Washington DC.

First baseman and future National Baseball Hall-of-Famer Walter F. “Buck” Leonard (1907-1997) was a Rocky Mount native. Other players mentioned in the article include Tom Parker, Tommy Dukes, Jimmy, Binder, George Scales, Norman Jackson, Matthew Carlisle, Vic Harris, Buddy Burbage and Ray Brown. For 1935 season stats, see here.