While many debate the greatest Negro League player of all time, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson or Oscar Charleston, it has become less of a debate on the greatest team of all time. That honor has been narrowed to two teams, the 1931 Homestead Grays and the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords.
1931 Homestead Grays. Standing (L–R): Cum Posey, owner; Bill Evans, SS-OF; Jasper Washington, 1B-3B; Ambrose Reid, OF-INF; Smokey Joe Williams, P; Josh Gibson, C; George Scales, 2B; Oscar Charleston, 1B; Charlie Williams, office. Kneeling (L–R): George Britt, P-C-OF-INF; Lefty Williams, P; Jud Wilson, 3B; Vic Harris, OF; Ted Radcliffe, P-C; Tex Burnett, C; Ted Page, OF. (NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY)
Historian Phil S. Dixon makes the case for the 1931 Grays:
The Grays finished with a 143-29-2 record for an .828 winning average.
Josh Gibson batted an estimated .390 with a team-leading 40 home runs.
Oscar Charleston batted an estimated .346 with 58 doubles, 19 home runs, and an estimated 26 triples.
Jud Wilson batted an estimated .486.
Vic Harris batted an estimated .403.
Lefty Williams won 23 games.
George “Chippy” Britt won 21 games.
Willie Foster won 20 games.
Smokey Joe Williams won 20 games.
The 1931 Homestead Grays included six Hall of Fame players - Gibson, Charleston, Wilson, Smokey Joe Williams, Willie Foster, and Satchel Paige (although he only appeared in one game), and a Hall of Fame owner - Cum Posey.
Also on this team were several other star players, including Vic Harris, George “Tubby” Scales, and Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe. On talent alone, this team should receive creditable consideration as one of the greatest teams of all time.