Greatest Negro Leagues team in history? 1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords. Standing: Benny Jones, L.D. Livingston, Satchel Paige*, Josh Gibson*, Ray Williams, Walter Cannady, Cy Perkins, Oscar Charleston*. Kneeling: Sam Streeter, Chester Williams, Harry Williams, Harry Kincannon, Henry Spearman, Jimmie Crutchfield, Bobby Williams, Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe. (*Hall of Fame)

All Time Lists: 20 Greatest Players of the Negro Leagues

(Source: Díaz "Tomás Gutiérrez brand")Cuban baseball card of Oscar Charleston
(Source: Díaz “Tomás Gutiérrez brand”)Cuban baseball card of Oscar Charleston

Oscar Charleston, Center Field

Oscar McKinley Charleston (October 14, 1896 – October 5, 1954) was a center fielder for the Indianapolis ABCs, and ended his career in 1954 as a player/manager for the Indianapolis Clowns. He also played for the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords when they were the best teams in their league.

Charleston’s best year was with the St. Louis Giants, when he hit fifteen home runs, twelve triples, seventeen doubles, stole thirty-one bases, and had a.437 batting average. He played in the first Negro All-Star games in 1933-1935.He was considered to be the greatest center fielder in black baseball, and comparable to Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Babe Ruth, He was one of the top five Negro League leaders in home rons and batting averages, and the all-time leader in stolen bases.

In 1945, he became manager of the Brooklyn Brown Dodgers, and helped to recruit black ballplayers like Roy Campanella to join the first integrated teams. Charleston was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976. He passed on October 5, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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