Edited by Azizi Powell
This post is part of an ongoing series on group names of Negro League baseball teams and non-White American traveling (barnstorming) baseball teams.
This post presents a list of names of Negro League or traveling baseball teams that include a reference to the color of a portion of their uniform or other miscellaneous names for those teams.
These names are posted in relative alphabetical order. The home state for the team is given in brackets after the team name. If the team was a traveling team, that information is provided in brackets. Also, in some cases, brief editorial comments are posted below the group name.
In a few cases, a brief comment and a hyperlink are given for more information about a particular team.
The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and educational value.
It's my position that some of the names of these Negro League baseball teams provide information about the perspectives of Black people during the years that those teams were active.
Some of these group names that are featured in this post may also be included in other posts in this series.
Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negro_league_baseball for information about the history of The Negro League Baseball
All copyrights remain with their owners.
I know very little about baseball or that sport's history. Corrections and additions are very welcome.
UNIFORM COLORS AND MISCELLANEOUS NAMES OF NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAMS
Source of team names: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Negro_league_baseball_teams
Note: I may be wrong in my assumption that these team names refer to the teams' uniforms (including the color of socks or caps that the team wore).
Baltimore Black Sox [Maryland]
Boston Blues [Massachusetts]
Homestead Grays [Pennsylvania]
"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 would remain 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.
The Grays grew out of an earlier industrial team. In 1900, a group of African-American players had joined together to form the Germantown (PA) Blue Ribbons, an industrial league team. For ten years, the Blue Ribbons fielded a team every season and played some of the best sandlot teams in the area. In 1910, the managers of the team retired. The players reorganized the team and named themselves the Murdock Grays. In 1912, they became the Homestead Grays, the name they retained for the remainder of the franchise's history."
I admit to quoting a lengthy portion of that article because my adopted city is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I'm not sure why that team adopted the name "Grays". Perhaps it had nothing to do with the team's uniform colors. I recall owning a replica Homestead Gray's shirt, and that shirt wasn't gray. Maybe that color was chosen because "gray" is somewhat close to the color of dirt in sandlots where the games were played.
Jacksonville Red Caps [Florida]
Los Angeles White Sox [California]
Louisville Black Caps [Kentucky]
Louisville White Sox[Kentucky]
Memphis Red Sox [Tennessee]
Montgomery Grey Sox [Alabama]
Washington-Homestead Grays [District of Columbia]
[Read information above about the Homestead Grays]
Cincinnati Clowns [Ohio]
Ethiopian Clowns [Ohio]
Indianapolis Clowns [Indiana]
"The Indianapolis Clowns were a professional baseball team in the Negro American League. They began play as the independent Ethiopian Clowns, joined the league as the Cincinnati Clowns and, after a couple of years, relocated to Indianapolis...
The Ethiopian Clowns were an independent barnstorming baseball team. There is evidence indicating that the team was founded in Miami, Florida, in 1935 or 1936 by Hunter Campbell and bootlegger Johnny Pierce.
Syd Pollock was instrumental in promoting and popularizing the Clowns and developed them into a nationally-known combination of show business and baseball that earned them the designation as the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/11/racial-and-ethnic-referents-in-group.html for a list of Negro League teams & traveling teams whose name includes a racial reference such as that of the Ethiopian Clowns.
The Wikepedia article about the Harlem Globetrotters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Globetrotters describes them as "an exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater, and comedy...the genesis of the Globetrotters took place on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, in the 1920s... When the [Chicago] Savoy Ballroom opened in November 1927, one of the premier attractions was the Savoy Big Five, a basketball team that played exhibitions before dances[In 1928] several players led by Tommy Brookins formed a team called the "Globe Trotters" that toured Southern Illinois that spring. Abe Saperstein became involved with the team, though exactly to what extent is unclear. In any event, by 1929 Saperstein was touring Illinois and Iowa with his basketball team called the "New York Harlem Globe Trotters." Saperstein decided to pick Harlem as their home city, since Harlem was considered the center of African-American culture at the time and an out-of-town team name would give the team more of a mystique."
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS TEAM NAMES
Chattanooga Choo-Choos [Tennessee]
This team name was undoubtedly given as homage to the popular song with that title.
Chicago Unions [Illinois]
"The Chicago Unions were a professional, black baseball team that played in the late 19th century, prior to the formation of the Negro Leagues.
During 1901 and 1902, Frank Leland created the Chicago Union Giants by hiring many players from the Chicago Unions and Columbia Giants. The Union Giants "were recognized as the top team in the West, but lost a challenge playoff to the Algona Brownies in 1903 for the western championship" (Riley 168). The Union Giants were renamed Leland Giants in 1905."
The name "union" is also found in the name of the Chicago train stations. http://www.unionstationmp.com/history2/ indicates that the "Chicago Union Station opened in 1925. It replaced the Union Depot that had been built on essentially the same site in 1882."
Cincinnati Buckeyes [Ohio]
Click “Origin of the Buckeye Name” for information about that word "buckeye".
Because “buckeye” nuts are brown, this name also could have been a coded reference to the fact that the Cincinnati Buckeyes was a Black team. However, given the wide use of the term “buckeyes” as a referent for all Ohioans, I think that racial meaning was secondary at best.
Dayton Marcos [Ohio]
Hilldale Daisies [Pennsylvania]
Louisville Fall City [Kentucky]
Newark Dodgers [New Jersey]
This team's name was probably chosen because of the "Brooklyn Dodgers" baseball team.
"The Brooklyn Dodgers were an American baseball team that was active in the major leagues from 1884 until 1957, after which it moved to Los Angeles, where it continued its history as the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team's name derived from the reputed skill of Brooklyn residents at evading the city's trolley street cars. The Dodgers played in two stadiums in South Brooklyn, each named Washington Park, and at Eastern Park in the neighborhood of Brownsville before moving to Ebbets Field in the neighborhood of Flatbush in 1913. The team is noted for signing Jackie Robinson in 1947 as the first black player in the modern major leagues."
Portland Rosebuds [Oregon]
Toledo Crawfords [Ohio]
Toledo Rays [Ohio]
Washington Pilots [District of Columbia]
This name may refer to the team's speed and ability to navigate their plays through any obstcles.
Since a flight pilot is a high status profession, that team name could also have been included in this post to this series:
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/11/power-other-high-status-references-in.html "Power & Other High Status References In Negro League Team Names"
Thanks to the authors of the above linked Wikipedia page that provides a complete list of names of Negro League teams.
Thanks to all those who were members of those teams.
Thank you for visiting pancocojams.
Visitor comments are welcome.