Formed in 1912 by Cumberland Posey, the Homestead Grays entered the Negro National League in 1935. Though they were originally based out of Pittsburgh, in the late 1930's the team adopted the nation's capital as its "home away from home," as the Negro League Baseball Players Association site recounts:
"During World War II, the Grays played their home games at both Forbes Field (Pittsburgh) and Griffith Stadium (Washington, D.C.) when the white Major League clubs were on the road. The Grays traditionally outdrew their white counterparts, the cellar-dwelling Washington Senators."
As the Baseball Almanac Homestead Grays page notes, during a stretch from, "... 1938 through 1948, the Grays won an unprecedented nine league championships," with a roster comprised of legendary Baseball Hall of Famers, "... Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard and Jamie "Cool Papa" Bell as well as other greats like Sam Bankhead, Jimmy Crutchfield, Luke Easter, and Wilmer Fields."
The Washington Nationals will honor that history tonight in Atlanta, Georgia's Turner Field by donning the Homestead Grays' away uniforms on "Heritage Weekend" in the Braves' home park. The Nationals sent out a picture on Twitter previewing the jerseys they will wear in the second game of three on the road in Atlanta:
• Here's the Nationals/Grays' lineup for tonight's game:
Tonight's lineup at ATL: Span CF, Lombardozzi LF, Zimmerman 3B, LaRoche 1B, Desmond SS, Bernadina RF, Espinosa 2B, Suzuki C, Gonzalez P— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 1, 2013
Before tonight's game, Washington Nationals/Homestead Grays' manager Davey Johnson updated reporters on what doctors told Stephen Strasburg when the 24-year-old right-hander returned to the nation's capital after leaving last night's game with a lower back issue which Johnson later said was believed to be a strained oblique:
Davey says MRI on Strasburg showed "slight strain of the back/right side." No DL yet, will see how he feels in couple days.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) June 1, 2013
An MRI done on Stephen Strasburg showed a slight strain in his back on the right side, Davey Johnson said.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) June 1, 2013
Davey: Strasburg's MRI revealed a slight strain of his right oblique. Nats want to see how he feels next two days before any decisions.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) June 1, 2013
Strasburg told reporters after the game last night that he thought he could have continued pitching, and said he expected that he would be available for his next start. "I could have definitely pitched through it and gone out there," the right-hander said, but the decision was not his to make. "Davey didn't want to take the chance and you've just got to be proactive about it and get the treatment and hopefully I should be able to make the next start."
Tonight's game starts at 7:15 pm EST in Atlanta.