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CLEVELAND GIANTS

The CLEVELAND GIANTS were a Negro League baseball team in 1933, members of the Negro National League. The team joined the league mid-season and struggled with a 2 and 14 record. The Giants played some of their games at CLEVELAND MUNICIPAL STADIUM, the first black professional baseball team to do so.

After the failure of the East-West League Gus Greenlee, the owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, attempted to form a second incarnation of the Negro National League. His attempt was successful; the new NNL survived the Great Depression and lasted until 1948, one year after Major League Baseball integrated. One of the new NNL's goals was to establish a solid franchise in Cleveland. League owners believed that the city was a good site for a Negro League team, but that it needed some assistance from the league to start and maintain a team. NNL officials planned to offer Cleveland some of each team's players and wanted to hire a star manager for the city. Oscar Charleston's name was suggested again, but he never came to Cleveland. By the end of February, George Mitchell, the representative for the Cleveland squad, said that his sponsors were unable to secure a ball park and would not join the new Negro National League for 1933. Detroit was offered a franchise in their place.

The Giants played as an independent team on local sandlots for much of the summer. The team even boasted a female player at second base, Isabelle Baxter. When the Columbus Blue Birds left the NNL in August, the Giants were offered their position in the league. Unfortunately for players like Baxter, the roster changed dramatically by the time the Giants reached the NNL. The changes were engineered by Greenlee, and resulted from a merger of the Columbus, Akron and Cleveland clubs. The team played terribly and even failed to show for a four-game series in Nashville, which led to four forfeited games. The Giants folded after the season.