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Jun 15, 2020

Negro League ace historian/author Jim Overmyer (Queen of the Negro Leagues: Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles; Black Ball and the Boardwalk: The Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City) returns for a deep dive into the extraordinary dual-sport career of Negro League baseball AND Black Fives-era basketball legend Cumberland Posey – including the two dominating teams he founded, owned, managed, and played for – baseball’s Homestead Grays and basketball’s Loendi Big Five.

Considered the best African-American hoops player of his time (although not inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame until 2016), Posey was a standout collegiate player at Pitt, Penn State and Duquense before launching his semi-pro Loendi club in 1915 – which he built and led to four consecutive Colored Basketball World's Championships from 1919-1923.

Posey was already moonlighting as a player with Negro League baseball’s Grays starting in 1911, becoming the team’s manager in 1916, and finally its owner by the early 1920s – ultimately building one of the powerhouses of black baseball.  Posey’s Homestead franchise won eleven pennants across three leagues – including nine consecutive Negro National League titles from 1937-45 – and three Negro World Series Championships (against counterparts from the Negro American League) in ’43, ’44 & ’48.

Overmyer discusses his new book (Cum Posey of the Homestead Grays: A Biography of the Negro Leagues Owner and Hall of Famer), Posey’s prodigious talents both as a player and owner (which garnered him posthumous induction in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006), and the Grays’ twin homes of both suburban Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.

This week’s episode is sponsored by the Red Lightning Books imprint of Indiana University Press – who offer our listeners a FREE CHAPTER of pioneering sportswriter Diana K. Shah’s new memoir A Farewell to Arms, Legs and Jockstraps!