A Dozen Things You Should Know About Cum Posey

Cum Posey

Cum Posey

1. Cumberland Willis Posey, Jr. was born in Homestead, Pennsylvania (just outside Pittsburgh) in 1890.

2. His family was wealthy for a black family of the time. His father was the first black licensed engineer in the US and built steamboats while managing and owning a coal company.

3. Posey excelled in basketball and baseball and was considered by contemporaries as a better basketball player than a baseball player.

4. In 1911 he began playing for the Murdock Grays, a semi-pro industrial league team. In 1912 they became the Homestead Grays with Posey still playing.

5. In 1916 he became manager of the Grays and owner in 1920.

6. While owning the Grays and acting as both manager and general secretary, Posey also wrote a weekly sports column for the Pittsburgh Courier, the premier black newspaper in Western Pennsylvania. He was joined there by Wendell Smith in 1937.

7. In 1929 he made an agreement with the Pittsburgh Pirates to lease Forbes Field, the Pirates home field, for Grays games. This gave his team a considerable economic advantage over other teams in the area.

8. In 1932 Posey formed the East-West League, but the league folded before the end of its first season. After barnstorming for a few years, Posey led his team into the newly formed Negro National League (second version).

9. The Grays, led by Posey, won NNL pennants every year from 1937 through 1945, winning the Negro World Series in 1943 and 1944. They also lost both the 1942 and the 1945 Negro World Series.

10. In 1940 Posey negotiated an agreement that allowed the Grays to play in Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC. Paired with Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, the two stadia allowed Homestead to develop a following in two major metropolitan areas, which made them one of the wealthier Negro League Teams.

11. Cum Posey died of cancer in 1946.

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

 

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