Charlie Hughes

This article was written by Rich Bogovich

Pittsburgh’s historic Ammon Field was renamed Josh Gibson Field in 2008 to honor the Baseball Hall of Famer who started his semipro career there in 1928. Harold “Hooks” Tinker, the Ammon Field regular who signed Gibson while player-manager of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, once spoke very fondly of a mutual teammate, middle infielder Charlie Hughes:

The greatest ground-ball man I’ve ever seen in my life. As much as we cared for that field up there, there would be a gutter that ran across second base every time it rained. And Hughes would be digging it out, and scraping it and raking it but it would be right back. Balls would get to that gutter and jump right up in his face. You know what he’d do with it? He’d come up with it on his ear.1

That’s the kind of dedication Charles Hughes demonstrated at a key time in the development of the Crawfords, as they were becoming what ESPN said is “generally regarded as the greatest black team of all-time.”2

Charles Samuel Hughes (called Charlie, Charley, and Chuck interchangeably in newspapers) was born to Grant Hughes and the former Jennie Robinson on October 13, 1906. Grant, who worked in a steel mill, was born in Tennessee, and Jennie in Virginia. Charlie’s birth certificate identified the family’s home as 3216 Mulberry Alley in Pittsburgh. In the 1910 census they were living at 12 Harding Street, and by that time Charlie had a younger brother named Chester. “Charlie grew up in the predominantly white working-class section of Lawrenceville in the company of immigrant families from southern and eastern Europe,” said University of Pittsburgh Professor Rob Ruck, who interviewed Charlie at length in 1981.3

By the 1920 census the family grew to include stepdaughter Cora Harris, who was a few years older than Charlie, and four more children: General (presumably Grant Jr.), Walter, Lucy (who later went by L. Frances), and Mary. Added by the 1930 census were Paul and Louis W. (who apparently was sometimes called William). The 1940 census indicated that Charlie completed two years of high school but military enlistment records for World War II said four years.

Sad to relate, Jennie Hughes passed away from influenza on February 13, 1922.4 The Hughes family was hit by another tragic turn little more than two years later when Chester died at the age of 15½. His death certificate reported the cause as pneumonia. Mother and son were buried in the Monongahela Cemetery.

Charlie had a great passion to divert his mind from grief: baseball. “He played pick-up games with Polish boys on Herron Hill before joining the Pittsburgh Blue Sox, a sandlot team from the Lawrenceville and Herron Hill black communities,” reported Ruck.5 In an interview with Hughes, Ruck asked how long he played with the Blue Sox. “Oh, I played ’til about ’22, something like that,” Hughes replied, which meant he was around age 15. “We didn’t do any traveling, just played around the local spots.”6

Charlie’s baseball timeline in the 1920s is a little cloudy, partly because there was at least one other Hughes who played on African-American “sandlot” (amateur or semipro) teams in the Pittsburgh area. In fact, in 1926 there was a game between teams on which Charlie was known to have played, the Pittsburgh Monarchs and a team from the Edgar Thomson steel mill, in which each team had a middle infielder named Hughes.7

A brief history that shed light on how Charlie became one of the early Crawfords was provided in 1933 by Richard Earle Johnson (often Earl Johnson for short) of the Pittsburgh Courier, a major African-American weekly newspaper. He was a 1920 Olympian, and at the 1924 Olympics in Paris he won two medals in cross country. Johnson led the Edgar Thomson team for a stint during the 1920s. He traced the origins of the Crawfords to around 1923: “About ten years ago John Herron of East Liberty organized a team that was called the Pittsburgh Monarchs. On the roster of this team was Claudie Johnson, Charles Hughes, Neal Harris, Frazier, Gilbert Hill, Harold Tinker, Ormsby Roy, Kimbrew [sic; William Kimbo], Lefty Burton, and a host of others,” Johnson wrote. “John did not have a team in 1924 and these boys drifted to other teams.”8 In 1924 the aforementioned Blue Sox had a middle infielder named Hughes listed in box scores, so perhaps Charlie returned to his first team for a time.9

John Herron reformed the Monarchs for 1925. A Monarchs box score in August included a Hughes at second base, batting third.10 In 1926 a player named Hughes appeared in articles about the Monarchs as well as in box scores.11 During the summer of 1927 the Edgar Thomson team had second baseman C. Hughes lead off, two spots ahead of shortstop R. Hughes (not a sibling).12 This is consistent with Johnson’s history, in which he added that the players he listed “drifted to Braddock and played under the colors of the Edgar Thomson Community Club.”

Johnson said the group’s next step was to play for the Crawfords. “The original Crawfords, however, were in most positions the old Monarchs. Claudie Johnson played first, Charles Hughes played second, Ormsby Roy played short, Bill Harris played third, Neal Harris, Harold Tinker and Still were outfielders, Gibson and Whitey were catchers.”13 It wasn’t quite that straightforward in the case of Charlie Hughes.

A SABR book published in 1994 listed Charlie Hughes among the starters on the 1928 Pittsburgh Crawfords.14 Except for misnaming one player, that roster matched the caption of a team photo signed by Tinker.15 He played for at least one other team that year, and possibly more. As a sign of his potential, before the 1928 season Charlie Hughes was named in a headline, as signed by the 25th Ward Athletics.16 The same newspaper also announced his signing by the Pittsburgh Monarchs a week later.17 He soon reported to practices held by the latter, and he was named in articles about Monarchs games in May.18 However, from June to August a second baseman named Hughes was listed regularly in Edgar Thomson box scores.19

Charlie Hughes wasn’t in two lists of Crawfords players in the Courier during the 1929 preseason,20 but his name turned up in box scores and game accounts throughout the season.21 One high point for Hughes that season was during the third round of a local “senior elimination tournament” against the Kokinos Cardinals of Stowe Township. The subhead of the account in the Pittsburgh Press read, “Kimbo Performs Well in Relief Role; Hughes Swat Proves Timely Blow.” As that daily reported, the “Crawfords won out in the eighth with a three-run rally. C. Harris singled; Gibson grounded out to Vitelli and on the play Harris, by brilliant running, slid safely into third. He scored a moment later when Stills doubled to left center. W. Harris scored Stills with a double to right; Moore drew a walk. Kimbo singled to center and Harris was thrown out at the plate. Hughes came to the rescue with a timely single to center, scoring Moore with what proved to be the winning marker, Kokinos getting a run in its half of the eighth.”22

As the 1930 season approached, the Courier declared the “Crawford Colored Giants” to be the region’s “second ranking colored team,” and gave the starters individual attention by telling where they lived — for example, “Charley Hughes of Lawrenceville.”23 The Crawfords justified the Courier’s evaluation soon enough. At one point in June their record stood at 19 wins to only two losses, and after mid-July it reached 34-5.24

Many years later, Harold Tinker was asked if there was a particular game that stood out during his career. “As far as I’m concerned, the game that we played the Grays the first time,” he replied. He was referring to a facing the legendary Homestead Grays on August 23, 1930, in the ballpark of the National League’s Pittsburgh Pirates. “None of us had ever been inside of Forbes Field,” Tinker said. The Grays led late by a single run, 3-2, and the Crawfords’ batters threatened them a final time. “We should’ve won the game,” Tinker concluded. “The last out was a line drive to left center that Vic Harris made a great catch on off of Charlie Hughes. We would’ve won the game if that ball had went through.”25

In 1931 the Crawfords were prominent enough to warrant documenting their performance documented in the impressive Negro Leagues Database. As of this writing, the web page for their 1931 season presents statistical totals for 10 games. Neal Harris is the only Crawford previously mentioned who played in more than half of those games. Charlie Hughes played in three, Tinker two, and co-founder Bill Harris just one. Josh Gibson left the previous season to join the Grays, but on this list is another Hall of Famer, Satchel Paige, with one game.26 Hughes, Paige, Neal Harris, and Tinker all played in a 10-7 victory over the Grays on August 1.27 Charlie Hughes told Rob Ruck that on the Crawfords he was closest to Harold Tinker, Harry Beale, Whitey Turner, and Neal and Bill Harris,28 so that game was a fitting swan song for Charlie with two of those five, Harold and Neal.

Before the 1932 season there was talk of Hughes, Tinker, Neal and Bill Harris, and several other ex-teammates playing as the Original Crawfords at Ammon Field.29 Something like that did happen, except they became the Pittsburgh Cardinals, which did have “many of the members of last year’s Crawfords.” The Cardinals were admitted to the eight-team Allegheny County league.30 Hughes (at shortstop), Tinker, and at least one of the Harris brothers appeared together in a few box scores.31

In 1933 Charlie Hughes entered a new phase of his baseball career: bouncing from team to team in the Negro National League. The Negro Leagues Database page for Hughes provides statistical totals for 24 games in three seasons that decade. He played more than half of those in 1933.32 Hughes began the season trying out for the Homestead Grays. Toward the end of April the Grays made 11 cuts and had 23 players on their roster, including a Hughes among three “rookie” infielders.33

The Negro Leagues Database has combined data for two games in which he played for the Grays. One of them might have been a tie against the Nashville Elite Giants on June 8. Leading off for the Grays was “Hughes, 2b,” and he had one hit. There was a Hughes in Nashville’s lineup as well, who played both at second and first.34 That was presumably Sammy T. Hughes, the future five-time Negro Leagues All-Star. In center field for the Grays was future Hall of Famer Ray Brown, who often played in the outfield when he wasn’t piling up victories as a pitcher. He was playing his first of 14 consecutive seasons with the team.

Within a few days Charlie Hughes was traded, to the Columbus Blue Birds for shortstop Leroy Morney. He immediately found himself facing none other than the Crawford Grays in a four-game series. In the first game, on June 10, Hughes “played a sensational game at second base and hit in the Bird’s lone run.” In the first of two contests the next day he made “errors of omission” on consecutive plays. “Perkins’ sacrifice went for a hit when both Davis and Scott went in to field the ball and Hughes failed to cover first,” wrote Courier city editor William G. Nunn. “Another bunt, [by] Judy Johnson filled the bases, when Hughes covered late again.” Nevertheless, a feature of the second game was “some sensational work around second base by ‘Shorty’ Hughes, Blue Birds latest acquisition to their infield,” reported Nunn.”35 Nunn’s use of “Shorty” was surely due to the fact that the WWII draft card for Charles Samuel Hughes listed his height as five-foot-three and his weight as 146 pounds. Regardless, his name appeared in box scores throughout that summer, and provides totals for 14 games. Unfortunately, his batting average was only .156 in them.36

For 1934, has data for Hughes on three different Negro National League teams, though just six games combined.37 He apparently started with the Cleveland Red Sox. They were managed by Bobby Williams, who managed Hughes on the Crawfords in 1931. Hughes was at second base for Cleveland in a game against the Homestead Grays in May, and shortly thereafter he was again in a box score opposite Sammy Hughes of the Nashville Elite Giants.38

A few weeks later it was announced that Charlie Hughes would reunite with many old friends. “The original Crawford fans will have a chance to see their favorite players in action at Greenlee Field on Sunday, June 24th at 3 p.m., when the Old Crawfords meet the Homewood Club of the City League in a game which promises to be a thriller,” wrote the Courier. “Charles Hughes” was one of ten players named.39 Soon enough, though, he was back with the actual Crawfords for a brief finale. He was second baseman in a box score of Satchel Paige’s 4-2 win over Atlantic City’s Bacharach Giants on July 20. Other Hall of Famers in the Crawfords’ lineup were Cool Papa Bell, player-manager Oscar Charleston, and Josh Gibson.40

Hughes ended the season with the Baltimore Black Sox, owned by Jack Farrell of Chester, Pennsylvania. The player-manager was Rap Dixon, a regular in the Crawfords’ outfield in 1932. On July 28, Hughes had two hits and scored a run for the Black Sox in a 6-3 win over the Homestead Grays.41 One of his new teammates was pitcher Leon Day, the future Hall of Famer, who was in his first Negro National League season. In the three games for which provides combined stats, Hughes had four hits and a .400 average. However, his name appeared at least twice as many box scores during August and September.42

From 1935 through 1937, any playing that Hughes did was low profile. One reason may be that he “got married around 1936,” as he recalled in his interview with Rob Ruck. Four city directories from 1943 to 1949 listed Charles S. Hughes and wife Doris residing at 2132 Elmore Square, Apartment 102 (though in the 1947 edition she was called “Dora”). He also told Ruck about playing on the 18th Ward team around then, and, as a longtime employee of the Edgar Thomson steel works, he could play ball on their team.43

In 1938 Charlie Hughes had a final stint in the Negro National League, and has data for just two games. He played for the Washington Black Senators, who were managed by future Hall of Famer Ben Taylor. Longtime Crawfords pitcher Harry Kincannon was a Senator, as was Buddy Burbage, a teammate of Hughes on the 1931 Crawfords. Hughes was new to the team when it played the Black Yankees on May 21 and 22. They are clearly the two games recorded by Over the two games he went hitless in five at bats and made three errors. According to Sam Lacy of the Washington Tribune, Hughes was filling in for regular shortstop, who had been sidelined for a week with an aching tooth. Lacy wrote that “diminutive Chuck Hughes … was charged with two errors by a liberal scorer and proved himself to be hardly ready for the assignment.”44 It was a particularly sad outcome in light of his fielding prowess with other teams, and he wasn’t exactly old at that point. He was just 31.

Back home during 1939 he remained in demand as a ballplayer. Harold Tinker wanted him on his new St. John team, then John Herron brought him back to the Pittsburgh Monarchs, and in September he played for the Rankin Greys in a tournament. Still, whatever affected his fielding a year earlier seemingly persisted; when it was reported that Herron had cut him, Robert Hughey of the Courier commented that “Hughes’ fielding has been spotty here of late and his hitting way below par.”45 Perhaps the intensity of steel mill work was taking a toll on Hughes.

World War II enlistment records show that Hughes joined the army on November 10, 1942, and confirmed that he was indeed married by then. As a result of his military service, he likely wasn’t around when his father passed away on May 18, 1943.46

Charlie’s brother Walt was very active in baseball for at least a decade after they both completed their military service, sometimes with Charlie. Charlie may have lived a little vicariously through Walt as his younger brother played briefly in Gus Greenlee‘s short-lived United States Baseball League and when Walt took over for Vic Harris as manager of the Homestead Grays that reformed some months after the original franchise disbanded in mid-1951. Meanwhile, Earl Johnson reminded readers from time to time of Charlie’s formative role.47

When Charlie Hughes finally retired from the Edgar Thomson steel mill, he had logged 32 years of employment there. He retired around 1970, about ten years after his wife passed away. After his 70th birthday he suffered strokes in consecutive years and didn’t live much longer. He was 74 when he passed away on March 24, 1981.48 On that occasion there were long articles about him in the Pittsburgh Courier and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Walt was interviewed for both. In the latter paper, Walt chose to reminisce about a game when he was on the McKeesport Elks and they hosted Charlie and the Crawfords. Their father was in the crowd, watching his sons compete against one another for the first time. Grant Hughes had a dilemma: Should he sit with McKeesport fans, or the Crawfords’? He chose his older son’s side. The game was tied in the bottom of the 15th inning but the Elks had a runner on second with one out. Walt was the next batter, and he recalled fouling off multiple pitches. “Then he hit one over second between his brother and Crawfords’ second baseman Eddie Daniels,” wrote Post-Gazette reporter David Guo. “Both leaped for it; both missed.”

“I passed around the hat, must’ve got $400, $500,” Walt told Guo. “My dad say, ‘I’m comin’ home with you.’ I said, ‘No, you’re goin’ home with the Crawfords.’ We always got a good laugh about that one.”49

Charlie Hughes surely would have been thrilled that Walt had a much happier reason to receive media attention in 1993, as did Harold Tinker. Walt and Harold were among six former players recognized in a ceremony by the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team unveiled permanent banners honoring the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords.50



This biography was reviewed by Phil Williams and fact-checked by Chris Rainey.



1 Rob Ruck, Sandlot Seasons: Sport in Black Pittsburgh (Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 53.

2 The 2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., ‎2006), 1647.

3 Ruck, 52.

4 Her death certificate provided additional information of genealogical value, specifically that she was born on September 26, 1880, in Virginia to Charles and Lucy Robinson. The “Informant” for this information was Grant Hughes at the same address as hers (12 Harding Street), confirming that this was Charlie’s mother.

5 Ruck, 52.

6 Rob Ruck, “Charles Hughes Interview Transcription,” University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections, Black Sport in Pittsburgh Oral History Collection, Box 1 Folder 8 (AIS.1981.01), c. 1980: page 5 (excluding cover page).

7 “Monarchs Toppled,” Pittsburgh Daily Post, August 10, 1926: 10. A second baseman named Hughes led off for the Pittsburgh Monarchs against the Edgar Thompson team, which had a shortstop named Hughes batting sixth.

8 R. Earl Johnson, “Spotting Sports,” Pittsburgh Courier, September 23, 1933: section 2, page 5. Around the time of his Olympic years he worked at the Edgar Thomson steel mill in Braddock, where Charlie Hughes was later employed for many years. See

9 For examples, see “Wemco Wins from Pittsburgh Sox,” Pittsburgh Courier, June 7, 1924: 7, and “New Era Down Blue Sox,” Pittsburgh Press, August 20, 1924: 28.

10 “Quicksteps Fall Before Monarchs,” Pittsburgh Courier, August 22, 1925: 7.

11 For examples, see “Open with Morgan Team,” Pittsburgh Press, April 4, 1926: 25, “Monarchs Win from Raleigh,” Pittsburgh Courier, July 31, 1926: 15, and “Pittsburgh Monarchs Win,” Pittsburgh Daily Post, August 11, 1926, 16.

12 “Billys Walloped,” Pittsburgh Press, July 10, 1927: sporting section, page 6; “Community Beaten,” Pittsburgh Daily Post, July 13, 1927: 19; “Universal Winner Over Community,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 4, 1927: 18.

13 Johnson, section 2, page 5. Ormsby Roy and Whitey Turner were not among the 1928 or 1929 Crawfords identified by SABR or Harold Tinker in the next two endnotes. In any case, Johnson used “original Crawfords” a little loosely. The Crawfords dated back to at least 1926, but the caption of a team photo that year — available in a blog post by Rob Ruck — only included co-founder Bill Harris and Whitey Turner among the players Johnson listed. Johnny Moore is also in the photo, and was named by SABR and Tinker as well. The other co-founder identified in that photo is Charles “Teenie” Harris. See All of the players Johnson named as “original Crawfords” were key figures as the club transitioned from amateur to semipro and then to membership in the second Negro National League.

14 The Negro Leagues Book (Cleveland, Ohio: Society for American Baseball Research, 1994): 99. One of the two pitchers named is “Howard Kimbro (Howdy)” but was actually William Kimbo.

15 See “Hand-printed text reads ‘On Our Way To The Top/Pittsburgh Crawfords-1928/Back Row-Neal Harris-LF-Jim Stills RF, Harold Tinker Mgr.-F John Moore 1B-Allie Thompkins, OF- Charlie Hughes-2B Front Row Josh Gibson-C, -Wm. Kimbo-P. Gilbert Hill-P. Claude Johnson, CF+1B Bill Harris-3B-1B.’” However, Gibson and Stills were recruited in 1928 as replacements for Moore and Bill Harris, who had jumped to the Homestead Grays, according to Harry Beale, “On the Sandlots,” Pittsburgh Courier, August 18, 1928: section 2, page 6. The SABR book identified in the previous endnote lists the same eleven players on the roster of the 1929 Crawford Grays (with the additions of pitchers Lefty Burton and Harry Kincannon).

16 “Charlie Hughes and Chubby Pratt Lineup with 25th Ward,” Pittsburgh Courier, March 17, 1928: section 2, page 4.

17 Shelkie, “Sandlot Slants,” Pittsburgh Courier, March 24, 1928: section 2, page 4.

18 See “Monarch’s [sic] Schedule Fastly Filling,” Pittsburgh Courier, April 7, 1928: section 2, page 6; “Monarchs Win Easily,” Pittsburgh Courier, May 12, 1928: section 2, page 4; “Monarchs Drop 1 in 3,” Pittsburgh Courier, May 19, 1928: section 2, page 4. In a different column on that same May 12th page, Harry Beale’s “On the Sandlots” column mentioned that Claudie Johnson, “Charley Hughes” and “came back to the Pittsburgh Monarchs,” confirming that they had been on the team previously.

19 For examples, see “Tri-Borough League,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 29, 1928: 20; “Tri-Borough League,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 4, 1929: 19; “Tri-Boro League,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 18, 1928: 13; “Tri-Boro League,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 28, 1928: 17.

20 “Crawford Diamond Club Meets; Tinker and Beale Re-named,” Pittsburgh Courier, February 23, 1929: section 3, page 5; “Crawfords Set for Season,” Pittsburgh Courier, April 13, 1929: section 2, page 5.

21 For examples, see “Crawfords Top Two Star Local Sandlot Nines,” Pittsburgh Courier, May 18, 1929: section 2, page 4 (which concluded, “Hughes and Gibson also hit well.”); “Works Team Halts Winning Streak of Pittsburgh Stars, Altoona Mirror (Pennsylvania), June 3, 1929, 16; “Crawford 4, Verona 2,” Pittsburgh Courier, July 6, 1929: section 2, page 4; and “Crawfords Victor,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 28, 1929: 21 (which concluded, “Hughes with a pair of doubles featured the hitting.”).

22 “Kokinos Club Eliminated by Crawford, 6-5,” Pittsburgh Press, August 12, 1929: 16. The account concluded by noting that “Gibson led in hitting with a homer, triple and double.”

23 “Crawford Giants of 1930 to Be Strong Aggregation,” Pittsburgh Courier, February 22, 1930: 15. Alas, the article concluded with, “The club mourns the loss of Gilbert Hill, a fine pitcher, who succumbed Saturday.”

24 “Crawfords Boast Record of 19 Wins and 2 Losses,” Pittsburgh Courier, June 14, 1930: section 2, page 5 (lists scores of all 21 games, though without dates); “Crawfords Set New Record,” Pittsburgh Courier, July 26, 1930: section 2, page 5.

25 Brent Kelley, Voices from the Negro Leagues: Conversations with 52 Baseball Standouts (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2005): 16.

26 See; accessed April 28, 2018.

27 “Grays Beat Dormont, Lose to Crawfords,” Pittsburgh Press, August 2, 1931: sports section, page 6.

28 Rob Ruck, “Charles Hughes Interview Transcription,” University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections, Black Sport in Pittsburgh Oral History Collection, Box 1 Folder 8 (AIS.1981.01), c. 1980: page 9 (excluding cover page).

29 “Original Crawfords May Play Here, Report,” Pittsburgh Courier, February 20, 1932, section 2, page 4.

30 “Cardinals in County League,” Pittsburgh Courier, April 23, 1932: section 2, page 6.

31 For examples, see “Cardinals Win,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 9, 1932: 13; “Thomas Wins Both,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 31, 1932: 17; and “Whitaker Wins,” Pittsburgh Press, June 19, 1932: sports section, page 1. In the Courier account of the first of these games, “Hughes, Williams and Johnson” turned a double play in each of the first four innings, and Hughes drove in the winning run. See “Cardinals Top Dormont,” Pittsburgh Courier, May 14, 1932: section 2, page 5. (The actual page shows a date of May 7 but that would have been before the game occurred.)

32 See for his individual stats. His page,, only lists the teams on which he played, while incorrectly listing him as a member of the East-West League’s Washington Pilots in 1932. That was actually Sammy T. Hughes, as indicated at Oddly, the 1932 data there is omitted on Sammy’s other page,

33 “Deflation Hits Greys [sic] Camp; Eleven Released,” Zanesville (Ohio) Signal, April 26, 1933: 8.

34 Fred D. McCrary, “Grays, Nashville Battle to Thrilling 10-10 Tie; Elites Win First Title from Grays,” Pittsburgh Courier, June 10, 1933: section 2, page 5.

35 William G. Nunn, “Birds and Craws Thrill Columbus Baseball Fans; Crawfords Cop 2 out of 3 in Thrilling Series,” Pittsburgh Courier, June 17, 1933, section 2, page 4.

36 See For examples of box scores, see “Columbus Rallies in Seventh to Overtake Richmers,” Newark (Ohio) Advocate, June 16, 1933: 10 (“Hughes of the visitors made a beautiful stop in the seventh when he ran back of second to pull down Stiff’s hard-hit bounder and toss the runner out at first.” He also drove in two runs.); “Columbus Downs Nashville, 2 to 1,” Chicago Defender, June 24, 1933: 8 (two more box scores of Charlie versus Sammy Hughes); Kenneth Vance, “Bill Foster Is in Form, So Columbus Drops 4 to Coles,” Chicago Defender, July 22, 1933: 9 (versus Indianapolis; Morney apparently migrated back from the Homestead Grays to Columbus); and “American Giants Win Series from Columbus Blue Birds,” Indianapolis Recorder, August 5, 1933: 2 (A center fielder was omitted from Columbus’ lineup, so it’s unclear whether Hughes batted seventh or eighth).

37 The default view for his 1934 season combines stats for the three teams but for each team individually, see

38 “Dula Gets Victory for Grays from Sox,” Pittsburgh Courier, May 26, 1934: section 2, page 4; “Nashville Whips Hot Cleveland Nine Twice,” Chicago Defender, June 2, 1934: 14. The latter article is accompanied by only one box score. “Gilchrest, Redus and C. Hughes played well for the visitors, while West, Porter, Griffin, Hughes and Bankhead were the outstanding luminaries for the Giants.”

39 “Old Crawfords Meet Homewood in Sunday Tilt,” Pittsburgh Courier, June 23, 1934, section 2, page 5.

40 “Crawfords Wallop Bacharach Outfit,” Akron Beacon Journal, July 21, 1934, 13.

41 “Balto. Black Sox Whip Grays, 6-3,” The Afro-American (Baltimore), August 4, 1934: 19.

42 For just one example, see “Among Our Colored Citizens,” Chester (Pennsylvania) Times, August 8, 1934: 7. In a long description of a game against the Philadelphia Stars it stated that “’Chuck’ Hughes, Farrell’s new shortstop accepted his chances without a flaw… .” “Among Our Colored Citizens,” Chester Times, September 18, 1934, 5 confirmed that this “Chuck Hughes” lived in Pittsburgh and stuck with the Black Sox until late in the season.

43 Rob Ruck, “Charles Hughes Interview Transcription,” University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections, Black Sport in Pittsburgh Oral History Collection, Box 1 Folder 8 (AIS.1981.01), c. 1980: pages 18 and 16 (excluding cover page). A shortstop named Hughes homered in vain for the 18th Ward team in the game that decided the South Hills League championship of 1936; see “Mt. Lebanon Champs,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 15, 1936: 24. In mid-1937 a shortstop named Hughes played for the Edgar Thomson team; see “Crafton Stars Win,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 1, 1937: 19.

44 Sam Lacy, “Yankees Twice Humble Local Black Senators, 5-2; 13-2,” Washington Tribune, May 28, 1938, 16. See also “Black Yankees Nip Black Senators, 5-2,” Washington Post, May 22, 1938: section II, page 2, and “Black Yanks Beat Black Senators in Series Final, 13-2,” Washington Post, May 23, 1938: 14.

45 Robert Hughey, “Sandlot Slants,” Pittsburgh Courier, June 24, 1939: 15. Tinker’s recruitment of Hughes was reported by Paul Kurtz, “Hearts Seek Third Baseman; Catcher to Complete Roster,” Pittsburgh Press, April 27, 1939: 25. Hughes was named as shortstop of the Rankin Greys by Robert Hughey, “Crack Sepia Sandlot Baseball Teams Primed for Big Tournament, Pittsburgh Courier, August 26, 1939: 17.

46 “Death Notices,” Pittsburgh Press, May 21, 1943: 44.

47 Walt was with at least two teams in the United States Baseball League, including Detroit’s Motor City Giants with future major leaguer Luke Easter; see “Motor City Giants to Mix with Hilldales,” Indianapolis Recorder, July 21, 1945: section 2, page 3. A year later, Charlie was playing on the Pittsburg Stars, for which Walt was player-manager. A few years later, Walt received an achievement award for sandlot baseball at a banquet that featured Duquesne University basketball coach, Dudey Moore as a speaker; see “Area Athletes to Be Honored,” Pittsburgh Press, April 28, 1949: 45. Walt’s service as manager of the Homestead Grays was noted by Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz, “Forgotten Heroes: Elander Victor “Vic” Harris,” Center for Negro League Baseball Research, 2011: 15; see Walt provided additional details of his post-war activity to Rob Ruck, “Walt Hughes Interview Transcription,” University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections, Black Sport in Pittsburgh Oral History Collection, Box 1 Folder 9 (AIS.1981.01), c. 1980. Earl Johnson mentioned Charlie among old stars in “The Sports Whirl” column in several editions of the Pittsburgh Courier, such as on March 31, 1951 (page 16), September 1, 1951 (page 17), and June 27, 1953 (page 23).

48 Kim Platt, “Crawfords’ Hughes Played with Best,” Pittsburgh Courier, April 4, 1981: 10. His grave is in Greenwood Cemetery in the borough of Sharpburg, about five miles from downtown Pittsburgh.

49 David Guo, “Ex-Negro League Baseball Star Dies,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 25, 1981: 10.

50 “Pittsburgh Pirates’ Stadium Salutes the Negro Leagues,” Jet, September 20, 1993: 46.

Full Name

Charles Samuel Hughes


October 13, 1906 at Pittsburgh, PA (US)


March 24, 1981 at Pittsburgh, PA (US)

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