Beyond the Shadow of the Senators
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Buck Leonard was the Homestead Grays' Hall of Fame first baseman from 1934 to 1950. A left-handed home-run hitter, Leonard regularly poked balls over Griffith Stadium's 30-foot-high wall in right field. Some have called Leonard, a power-hitting first baseman with a quiet demeanor, the "Black Lou Gehrig." Leonard grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and worked for the local railroad until he was laid off at age 25. In 1933, Leonard joined a semi-pro baseball team in Portsmouth, Virginia. A few months later, he hooked on with a traveling team, the Baltimore Stars, in order to look after his younger brother, Charlie. Leonard also played briefly with the Brooklyn Royal Giants at the end of 1933. He joined the Homestead Grays in April 1934 and became one of the best players in the team's history. Leonard was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 along with his teammate, Josh Gibson.

Photo Credits: Josh Gibson - Art Carter Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University. Buck Leonard - National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.