Josh Gibson – The Black Babe Ruth

Baseball has always been a game partially defined by
one raw, unadulterated element: the home run ball.
And no one could hit the ball quite like Josh Gibson.
Born in Buena Vista, Georgia on December 21st, 1911,
Gibson began playing baseball in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
at the age of 16 with an amateur club. The aspiring
electrician’s play caught the eye of the Pittsburgh
Crawfords of the Negro League, but Josh wound up
signing with the Homestead Grays, playing catcher and
beginning a storied career.
Gibson played 16 years in the Negro Leagues as well
as for President Rafael Trujillo’s team in the Dominican
League with other stints in Mexico and Cuba. Over that
time, his hitting prowess became near mythical, with
many calling Babe Ruth ‘the white Josh Gibson’ as
deference to his skills. He reportedly hit 800 home
runs over his career, one of them which would make him
the only man to have ever hit a fair ball out of Yankee
Stadium. In addition, he was the first manager of the
Santurce Crabbers in the Puerto Rico Baseball League.
His career and his life ended due to a stroke caused
by a pre-existing brain tumor at the age of 35 in 1947.
But Josh Gibson’s legacy lived on, with Jackie Robinson breaking
Major League Baseball’s color barrier a couple of months
later and with Gibson being elected to the Baseball
Hall of Fame along with Satchel Paige and teammate Buck
Leonard in 1972, ultimately showing the powerful skill
that would make baseball in America that much better.

Baseball has always been a game partially defined by one raw, unadulterated element: the home run ball. And no one could hit the ball quite like Josh Gibson. Born in Buena Vista, Georgia on December 21st, 1911, Gibson began playing baseball in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the age of 16 with an amateur club. The aspiring electrician’s play caught the eye of the Pittsburgh Crawfords of the Negro League, but Josh wound up signing with the Homestead Grays, playing catcher and beginning a storied career.


Gibson played 16 years in the Negro Leagues as well as for President Rafael Trujillo’s team in the Dominican League with other stints in Mexico and Cuba. Over that time, his hitting prowess became near mythical, with many calling Babe Ruth ‘the white Josh Gibson’ as deference to his skills. He reportedly hit 800 homeruns over his career, one of them which would make him the only man to have ever hit a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium. In addition, he was the first manager of the Santurce Crabbers in the Puerto Rico Baseball League.

 

His career and his life ended due to a stroke caused by a pre-existing brain tumor at the age of 35 in 1947. But Josh Gibson’s legacy lived on, with Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier a couple of months later and with Gibson being elected to the BaseballHall of Fame along with Satchel Paige and teammate Buck Leonard in 1972, ultimately showing the powerful skill that would make baseball in America that much better.

 

Written by Christopher Smith


Also Check Out:
The Story Behind Black History Month
Althea Gibson – Early Black Dominance in Sports
Phillis Wheatley – First Published African-American
Charles Hamilton Houston – Civil Rights Attorney

 

 

Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

Team Parle has 1216 posts and counting. See all posts by Team Parle

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