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Greenlee Field to be commemorated today

Greenlee Field, the first black-owned ballpark in the Negro Leagues, will be remembered today with Pennsylvania State Historical Marker plaque at a 4:30 p.m. ceremony.

Gus Greenlee was arguably the most successful and flamboyant of the various Negro League owners, promoting his Pittsburgh Crawfords tirelessly and raising the level of play in the Negro National League — a circuit he helped form — with the construction of Greenlee Field in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.

That legacy will be recognized today with the installation of a Pennsylvania State Historical Marker plaque at a 4:30 p.m. ceremony. The event is part of the Jerry Malloy Negro Baseball League Conference, running through Saturday at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.

The ballpark was home to both the Crawfords and the Homestead Grays, and players like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson played many, many games there. But it did not have a long life, opening in 1932 and razed at the end of 1938 season after Greenlee sold the Crawdads. He certainly was an entrepreneur: the name of the ballpark came from his popular establishment, the Crawford Grill, which he owned well after he sent the team.

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