The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs will turn back the clock tonight and wear uniforms paying tribute to African American ballplayers during the Negro leagues era.
Pittsburgh, who is hosting, will be wearing the uniforms of the Homestead Grays. The Grays, formed in 1912 were originally based out of Homestead, Pennsylvania. In 1929 the team moved to Pittsburgh where they played their home games out of Forbes Field, which doubled as the home ballpark of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Grays would continue to play at Forbes through 1950 (with a few seasons in the 1940s shared with Washington’s Griffith Stadium).
The Homestead Grays perhaps have had their uniform worn in more Major League Baseball games than any other Negro league club, the Pirates and Washington Nationals have worn the Grays uniform a combined sixteen times previously, the Nationals doing so to acknowledge those split-seasons in the 40s.
Meanwhile the Chicago Cubs will don the uniforms of the Leland Giants, formed in 1901 following a merger between two other Chicago clubs, the team was named after owner-manager Frank Leland.
In 1910 the team split in half, with one club calling themselves the Chicago Giants and the other retaining the Leland Giants name (despite being the half that split off without its namesake). The Leland Giants (now named the Chicago American Giants) would end up playing through to the 1952 season lasting nearly 70 seasons when including its pre-merger history.