(1) Buck O'Neill said Willie Mays was the greatest major leaguer he ever saw, but Charleston was better. According to O'Neill, "Charlie was a tremendous hitter who could also bunt, steal a hundred bases a year and cover center field as well as anyone before him or since... he was like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Tris Speaker rolled into one."
(2) Bernie Borgan, a longtime scout for the Cardinals, said Charles-ton was the greatest player he ever saw, including Ruth and Cobb.
(3) Great Cuban Pitcher Juanelo Mirabal said Charleston "would try to beat you any way he could. Just like Ty Cobb, rip your pants or your legs, just to beat you out of a game. To me, I don't know which one was best. Both of them were great."
(4) Dave Malarcher said Charleston "could play the whole outfield by himself."
(5) Satchell Paige said Charleston "used to play right in back of second base. He would outrun the ball. You had to see him to believe him."
(6) Hollis (Sleepy) Thurston, who barnstormed against Charleston, said he hit a HR every night.
(7) Jimmy Crutchfield said that if he had to pick the best player he ever saw, it would be Charleston or Josh Gibson.
(8) John Johnson of the Kansas City Call said Charleston ran so fast he made Cobb "look like a runner with a handicap."
(9) Bill James, who in my opinion is easily the foremost living baseball historian, says Charleston was "a barrel chested man with thin legs, like Ruth. He was intense, focused, bright, and did everything exceptionally well." James adds that "Charleston, in a sense, put Mays and Mantle together. He combined the grace, athleticism, and all-around skills of Mays with the upper body strength of Mantle, plus he was a left-handed hitter. His hands were so strong that when he was playing first base late in his career, pitchers would use him to rub down new baseballs, as he could rub a baseball so hard that he would open up the seams. He played shallow, like Speaker, and ran down everything hit over his head. He was an intense player--more intense than any of these [greats] except Cobb, and his intensity was less destructive than Cobb's. Buck O'Neill said Charleston had a stop sign on his chest. It's impossible to compare him to the others without head to head numbers; it's impossible to imagine that he was much better than they were. But he was a hell of a package."
"It's not like one person saw Oscar Charleston play and said that he was the greatest player ever. LOTS of people said he was the greatest player they ever saw. John McGraw, who knew something about baseball, reportedly said that, at least according to the Sporting News.... His statistical record, such as it is, would not discourage you from believing that this was true. I don't think I'm a soft touch or easily persuaded; I believe I'm fairly skeptical. I just don't see any reason not to believe that this man was as good as anybody who ever played the game."
''A sport without black people ain't a sport. That's just a game!... That's like me saying, 'Ooh, I got the highest SAT score in the whole world, but no Asians took the test.' What kind of crap is that? 'I just won the marathon. No Kenyans could run, though!'''