28 Days of Black History Month (February 8th)
Josh Gibson Born on December 21st, 1911 in Buena Vista, Georgia was an African American Baseball Player. Many people consider Gibson the Greatest Hitter of All-Time, this includes the likes of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams & many others. This claim is also highly disputed due to the fact that Gibson never played in the Majors. Due to to the strict color barrier (Segregation) associated with Major League Baseball and the country as well. Black players were prohibited from playing alongside their white counterparts. (Until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier on April 15th, 1947 when he suited up to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers). Instead Josh Gibson became a living Legend playing mostly in the Negro League. Legend has it that he hit close to 800 Home runs throughout the course of his Pro Career.
Even though Josh never played in the Majors, he did however play in Major League stadiums. Either against other Negro League teams or against Semi-Pro competition. Legend has it that Josh is the only player in Yankee Stadium History (old Yankee Stadium 1923-2008) to hit a Home run clear out of the ballpark. Many Historians speak of his great abilities, attributes and accolades. It’s reported that Josh had a lifetime .359 batting average and had excellent accuracy throwing out runners attemping to steal bases. In 1947 there was controversy brewing over Branch Rickey’s selection of Jackie Robinson break the color barrier in MLB. Many people felt that Josh deserved the opportunity since he was the best player. However, Josh died of a stroke a little under 3 months shy of seeing Jackie play in the majors, He was only 35 years old. He was posthumously elected in the Baseball Hall of Fame by a special committee for Negro League Players.
My Grandfather would tell me stories of Josh Gibson and his hitting ability. He told me that he was the best hitter ever!. He was known by many names including the “Black Babe Ruth”, in fact many might have called Babe Ruth the “White Josh Gibson”. There’s no denying that Babe Ruth holds the distinction for being the most celebrated baseball player, and if there was a Mount Rushmore of players he’d be on it. Just make sure there’s some room for Josh. Even though he never made it to the Majors, many people felt he was more than worthy. #Thankyou.