Charleston is an Indianapolis native. When the Chicago Giants met the Indianapolis ABCs on May 2, 1920, in the first game in Negro Leagues history, Charleston was in center field at West Washington Street Park, now the site of the Indianapolis Zoo. He played for and/or managed the ABCs, the Indianapolis Crawfords, the Indianapolis Clowns — 14 Negro Leagues teams in all.
Charleston was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976. His lifetime batting average was .353. Contemporaries called him “the black Ty Cobb” and the “the black Babe Ruth.” Ted Williams told stories about him.