By 1930, the old Negro League was falling apart due to the Great Depression and Foster’s absence as the leader of the league. He was unable to be the commissioner due to an array of mental issues. Sadly, the old league did not make any money and had no access to its own stadium or lots. In fact, Sundays were the only profitable day for the league. The 1930s did provide fresh opportunities for a new league when Gus Greenlee came onto the scene.
Businessman and numbers runner William Augustus “Gus” Greenlee saw that baseball could be a great venue for gambling. So he decided to create the Negro National League in 1933. While serving as a de facto commissioner of the league, he also owned the Pittsburgh Crawfords. The Crawfords were the best team in the league, featuring Satchel Paige (pictured above), Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson and Oscar Charleston.