Cumberland Posey

Cumberland Willis Posey, Jr. (June 20, 1890 – March 28, 1946) was an American baseball player, manager, and team owner in the Negro leagues, as well as a professional basketball player and team owner.

Cumberland Posey
Cumberland Posey 1913
Born: June 20, 1890
Homestead, Pennsylvania
Died: March 28, 1946 (aged 55)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodCommittee on African-American Baseball

Early life

Cumberland Jr. was born a into Western Pennsylvania's Negro elite, the son of Cumberland Willis Posey Sr. and Angelina "Anna" Stevens Posey of Homestead, adjacent to Pittsburgh. Posey senior worked on riverboats and became in 1877 probably the first African American licensed engineer in the United States, then earned the chief engineer license and title Captain. "Cap" Posey was a riverboat builder, general manager of the Dexter Coal Company, owner of the Diamond Coke and Coal Company, and industrial partner of Henry Clay Frick. He was president of the Loendi Social and Literary Club for three years and president of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper for its first fourteen years, to 1924.(Williams) The family lived in a palatial Italianate mansion on the heights.

Despite his commanding wealth Captain Posey still had to deal with racial discrimination, according to historian William Serrin. In that crucible of race his son began to excel as a young athlete.

In football, Cumberland Jr. was a star player and manager for semi-pro sandlot teams in the Pittsburgh area prior to 1910, including the Delaney Rifles and the Collins Tigers.


Cumberland Posey
Personal information
BornOctober 25, 1890
Homestead, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 28, 1946 (aged 55)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Listed height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Career information
High schoolHomestead (Homestead, Pennsylvania)
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Posey was the best African American basketball player of his time, playing from the early 1900s (decade) through the mid-1920s. His peers and the sporting press considered him an "All-Time Immortal". "The mystic wand of Posey ruled basketball with as much eclat as 'Rasputin' dominated the Queen of all the Russias", observed the Harlem Interstate Tattler in 1929.

Posey led Homestead High to the 1908 city championship, played basketball at Penn State for two years, moved to the University of Pittsburgh where he earned a pharmacy degree in 1915,[1] and formed the famous Monticello Athletic Association team that won the Colored Basketball World's Championship in 1912. He later played varsity basketball for Duquesne University, under the name "Charles Cumbert", and led the Dukes in scoring for three seasons through 1919. Today he is enshrined in the Duquesne Sports Hall of Fame under his real name.

During the mid-1910s, Posey formed, operated, and played for the Loendi Big Five, which became the most dominant basketball team of the Black Fives Era through the mid-1920s, winning four straight Colored Basketball World Championship titles. He retired from basketball in the late 1920s to focus exclusively on the business of baseball and on his weekly sports column in the Pittsburgh Courier, "In The Sportive Realm."

He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.[2]

Homestead Grays

In baseball, Posey played with the Homestead Grays in 1911, was manager by 1916, and became owner in the early 1920s. In a quarter-century running the team, he built it into one of the powerhouse franchises of black baseball, winning numerous pennants, including nine consecutively from 1937-45.

In 1910, a group of Homestead steelworkers was organized into one of baseball's greatest clubs by Posey. This team, the Homestead Grays, played many locations such as Forbes Field and Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. The team won eight out of nine Negro National League titles.

Posey, the principal owner of the Homestead Grays, spent 35 years (1911–1946) in baseball as a player, manager, owner and club official. He built a strong barnstorming circuit that made the Grays a perennially powerful and profitable team, one of the best in the East.

Posey began playing baseball for the semi-pro Grays in 1911. He soon ended his playing career to become field and business manager. He took control of the Grays in 1920 and turned them into a highly successful regional enterprise as an independent team. The Grays' strong identity in Pennsylvania and surrounding states enabled them to survive the depths of the Great Depression.

1930-31 Homstead Grays
Posey, far left, with the 1931 Grays

Posey, an aggressive talent seeker with the Grays, at one time or another had over a dozen current Negro leagues Hall of Famers playing for him. He was often accused of raiding other clubs' rosters, enticing their best players to join his team. He suffered a heavy dose of the same in the early 1930s, when he lost several stars to the well-financed Pittsburgh Crawfords. The Grays rebounded and became a member of the second Negro National League in 1935, soon dominating the circuit. Posey's teams reeled in nine consecutive pennants from 1937-1945.

Posey unwisely attempted to start the East-West League in 1932, during the Depression, but it did not last the season. He later became an officer of the Negro National League, and was a major force at its meetings throughout the rest of his career. He also was a frequent critic of the league, both before and after joining it, in his regular sports columns for the Pittsburgh Courier, a leading black weekly newspaper.

Courier sportswriter Wendell Smith once wrote of Posey: "Some may say he crushed the weak as well as the strong on the way to the top of the ladder. But no matter what his critics say, they cannot deny that he was the smartest man in Negro baseball and certainly the most successful."

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

He was named to the Washington Nationals Ring of Honor for his "significant contribution to the game of baseball in Washington, D.C" as part of the Homestead Grays on August 10, 2010.

He died of cancer at age 55 in Pittsburgh. His hometown of Homestead declared a school holiday in his honor the day of his funeral.


  1. ^ Alumni Directory University of Pittsburgh 1798-1916. 2. The General Alumni Association of the University of Pittsburgh. 1916. p. 164. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Announcement presented by Haggar Clothing Company". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. April 4, 2016. Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  • Riley, James A. (1994). "Posey, Cumberland Willis, Jr. (Cum)". The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. New York: Carroll & Graf. pp. 636–38. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6.
  • (Riley.) Cumberland "Cum" Posey, Personal profiles at Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. – identical to Riley, except for notice of 2006 Hall of Fame induction (confirmed 2010-12-12)
  • Serrin, William (1993). Homestead. New York: Knopf Publishing.
  • Williams, Rachel Jones (2010). "Cumberland Willis Posey Sr.", Black History in Pennsylvania. Reprinted from Pennsylvania Heritage Spring 2010, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Confirmed 2010-12-11.

External links

1890 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1890 throughout the world.

1946 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1946 throughout the world.

2006 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2006 proceeded in keeping with rules enacted in 2001, augmented by a special election; the result was the largest class of inductees (18) in the Hall's history, including the first woman elected. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) held an election to select from among recent players. The Veterans Committee did not hold an election; the 2001 rules changes provided that elections for players retired over 20 years would be held every other year, with elections of non-players (managers, umpires and executives) held every fourth year. The Committee voted in 2005 on players who were active no later than 1983; there was no 2005 election for non-players. Elections in both categories were held in 2007.

On July 26, 2005, the Hall announced that its board of directors had approved a special election to be held in 2006, by the Committee on African-American Baseball, of Negro leagues and pre-Negro leagues candidates.

Induction ceremonies in Cooperstown were held July 30 with Commissioner Bud Selig presiding.

Black participation in college basketball

Blacks have been participating in American college basketball for over a century.

Buck Leonard

Walter Fenner "Buck" Leonard (September 8, 1907 – November 27, 1997) was an American first baseman in Negro league baseball and in the Mexican League. After growing up in North Carolina, he played for the Homestead Grays between 1934 and 1950, batting fourth behind Josh Gibson for many years. The Grays teams of the 1930s and 1940s were considered some of the best teams in Negro league history.

Leonard never played in Major League Baseball (MLB); he declined a 1952 offer of an MLB contract because he felt he was too old. Late in life, Leonard worked as a physical education instructor and was the vice-president of a minor league baseball team. He and Gibson were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. In 1999, he was ranked number 47 on the 100 Greatest Baseball Players list by The Sporting News.

Cool Papa Bell

James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell (May 17, 1903 – March 7, 1991) was an American center fielder in Negro league baseball from 1922 to 1946. He is considered to have been one of the fastest men ever to play the game. Stories demonstrating Bell's speed are still widely circulated. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. He ranked 66th on a list of the greatest baseball players published by The Sporting News in 1999.

Duquesne University

Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit () is a private Catholic university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded by members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Duquesne first opened its doors as the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost in October 1878 with an enrollment of 40 students and a faculty of six. In 1911, the college became the first Catholic university-level institution in Pennsylvania. It is the only Spiritan institution of higher education in the world. It is named for an 18th-century governor of New France, Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville.

Duquesne has since expanded to over 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students within a self-contained 49-acre (19.8 ha) hilltop campus in Pittsburgh's Bluff neighborhood. The school maintains an associate campus in Rome and encompasses ten schools of study. The university hosts international students from more than 80 countries although most students — about 80% — are from Pennsylvania or the surrounding region. Duquesne is considered a research university with higher research activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. There are more than 79,000 living alumni of the university including two cardinals and the current bishop of Pittsburgh.

The Duquesne Dukes compete in NCAA Division I. Duquesne men's basketball appeared twice in national championship games in the 1950s and won the NIT championship in 1955.

Homestead Grays

The Homestead Grays (also known as Washington Grays or Washington Homestead Grays) were a professional baseball team that played in the Negro leagues in the United States.

The team was formed in 1912 by Cumberland Posey, and remained in continuous operation for 38 seasons. The team was originally based in Homestead, Pennsylvania, adjacent to Pittsburgh. By the 1920s, with increasing popularity in the Pittsburgh region, the team retained the name "Homestead" but crossed the Monongahela River to play all home games in Pittsburgh, at the Pittsburgh Pirates' home Forbes Field and the Pittsburgh Crawfords' home Greenlee Field.

From 1940 until 1942, the Grays played half of their home games in Washington, D.C., while remaining in Pittsburgh for all other home stands. As attendance at their games in the nation's capital grew, by 1943, the Grays were playing more than two-thirds of their home games in Washington.

Irvin Brooks

Irvin Woodberry "Chester" Brooks (June 5, 1891 – February 4, 1966) was an African American baseball player in the Negro Leagues. Several reference books incorrectly list him as "Chester" Brooks born in the Bahamas, he was actually born in Key West, Florida and during his playing career he was known as "Irvin" (or occasionally as "Irving"). The nickname "Chester" and reference to West Indian origins apparently first appears in print in articles by Cumberland Posey. From 1918 to 1933 he played pitcher, infielder, and outfielder.

Brooks spent his entire playing career with the Brooklyn Royal Giants and was an outstanding hitter. Cumberland Posey, the influential owner of the Homestead Grays, named Brooks to his all-time Negro league baseball all-star team.

Josh Gibson

Joshua Gibson (c. December 21, 1911 – January 20, 1947) was an American Negro league baseball catcher. Baseball historians consider Gibson to be among the very best power hitters and catchers in the history of any league, including Major League Baseball (MLB). In 1972, he became the second Negro league player to be inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.Gibson played for the Homestead Grays from 1930 to 1931, moved to the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1932 to 1936, and returned to the Grays from 1937 to 1939 and 1942 to 1946. In 1937, he played for Ciudad Trujillo in Trujillo's Dominican League and from 1940 to 1941, he played in the Mexican League for Rojos del Águila de Veracruz. Gibson served as the first manager of the Santurce Crabbers, one of the most historic franchises of the Puerto Rico Baseball League.

Gibson was known as the "black Babe Ruth", in fact, some fans at the time who saw both Ruth and Gibson play called Ruth "the white Josh Gibson". Gibson never played in the major leagues because of the unwritten "gentleman's agreement" that prevented non-white players from participating. He stood 6-foot-1 (185 cm) and weighed 210 pounds (95 kg) at the peak of his career.

List of Duquesne University people

This is a list of notable persons affiliated with Duquesne University, including alumni, current and former faculty members, and students.

List of Negro league baseball players (M–R)

This list consists of players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

List of Negro league baseball players (A–D)

List of Negro league baseball players (E–L)

List of Negro league baseball players (M–R)

List of Negro league baseball players (S–Z)

Player inducted as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

List of Pennsylvania State University people

This is a list of famous individuals associated with the Pennsylvania State University, including graduates, former students, and professors.

Nationals Park

Nationals Park is a baseball park along the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It is the home ballpark for the Washington Nationals, the city's Major League Baseball franchise. When the Montreal Expos franchise relocated to Washington, D.C. and became the Nationals, they temporarily played at RFK Stadium until Nationals Park was completed. It is the first LEED-certified green major professional sports stadium in the United States.

The ballpark, designed by HOK Sport and Devrouax & Purnell Architects and Planners, cost $693 million to build, with an additional $84.2 million spent on transportation, art, and infrastructure upgrades to support the stadium for a total cost of $783.9 million. The stadium has a capacity of 41,339. The Washington Monument and the Capitol building are visible from the upper decks on the first base side of the field.

The park's name echoes that of the early-1900s ballpark used by the Washington Senators, National Park, until it was rebuilt and renamed Griffith Stadium.

Nationals Park hosted the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the first All-Star Game to be played in Washington, D.C. since 1969.

Negro league baseball

The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams predominantly made up of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920 that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues".

In 1885 the Cuban Giants formed the first black professional baseball team. The first league, the National Colored Base Ball League, was organized strictly as a minor league but failed in 1887 after only two weeks owing to low attendance. The Negro American League of 1951 is considered the last major league season and the last professional club, the Indianapolis Clowns, operated as a humorous sideshow rather than competitively from the mid-1960s to the 1980s.

Pete Hill

John Preston "Pete" Hill (October 12, 1882 – November 19, 1951) was an American outfielder and manager in baseball's Negro leagues from 1899 to 1925. He played for the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears, and Baltimore Black Sox. Hill starred for teams owned by Negro league executive Rube Foster for much of his playing career.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Pittsburgh Courier

The Pittsburgh Courier was an African-American weekly newspaper published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1907 until October 22, 1966. By the 1930s, the Courier was one of the top black newspapers in the United States.It was acquired in 1965 by John H. Sengstacke, a major black publisher and owner of the Chicago Defender. He re-opened the paper in 1967 as the New Pittsburgh Courier, making it one of his four newspapers for the African-American audience.

Sell Hall

Sellers McKee Hall (June 15, 1888 - February 13, 1951) was the first African-American music promoter to be based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as well as former professional player and executive in Negro league baseball.

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C. The Nationals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. From 2005 to 2007, the team played in RFK Stadium; since 2008 their home stadium has been Nationals Park on South Capitol Street in Southeast D.C., near the Anacostia River.The Nationals are the eighth major league franchise to be based in Washington, D.C., and the first since 1971. The current National League club was founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, part of the MLB expansion. The Expos were purchased by Major League Baseball in 2002, and the team was renamed the Nationals and moved to Washington, D.C. before the 2005 season, marking the first franchise relocation in MLB since the third Washington Senators moved to Texas in 1971.

While the team initially struggled after moving to Washington, the Nationals have experienced considerable success in recent years, winning division titles in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017, although they have yet to advance out of the first round in the playoffs. Two of the team's first overall picks in the MLB Draft, Stephen Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper in 2010, attracted new levels of attention to the team. At the time of his selection, Strasburg was called the "most-hyped pick in draft history," and Harper later became the youngest position player to be selected to the MLB All-Star Game. Including their time in Montreal, the Nationals are one of two franchises, and the only one in the National League, never to have won a league pennant and played in a World Series, along with the Seattle Mariners of the American League.

Veterans Committee
Committee on
African-American Baseball
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
Executives /

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