Landers: The 1931 Homestead Grays may be the best baseball club ever

From Chris Landers at on February 12, 2020:

Ask 10 fans to name the greatest baseball team ever, and you’ll very likely get 10 different answers. The ’01 Mariners. The ’75 Reds. The ’42 Cardinals. The ’18 Red Sox. The ’27 Yankees (or the ’39 Yankees, or the ’98 Yankees, or … ). But there’s one name that you almost certainly won’t hear.

An all-black team before integration, they played far away from the bright lights of the Majors. They began as a group of steel men just outside Pittsburgh. Heck, they didn’t even have a league to call their own: The Negro National League more or less collapsed following the death of founder Rube Foster in December 1930, and the East-West League wouldn’t arrive until 1932.

No, the 1931 Homestead Grays weren’t particularly glamorous. They simply played anybody, anywhere — black teams and white teams, semi-pro teams and former Negro League teams, town teams and company teams, teams of coal miners and teams of steelworkers — and won at a rate that seems like something out of a video game. History has shown them to be one of the greatest collections of baseball talent on record. And as we honor the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, it’s about time we give them their due. Not just as one of the best of their era, or of their league, but as quite possibly the best baseball team of all-time.

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Originally published: February 13, 2020. Last Updated: February 13, 2020.