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On this date in 1911, Josh Gibson was born. He was a Black professional baseball player who was one of the leading hitters in the Negro Leagues.
Joshua Gibson was born in Buena Vista, Georgia, and moved with his family to Pittsburgh, PA, as a child. He began playing semiprofessional baseball in 1927. In 1930, he was attending a game between the Homestead Grays and the Kansas City Monarchs when the Grays' catcher was injured. The Grays called Gibson out of the stands to catch and he was on the team. The following year he hit 75 home runs, establishing himself as a leading power hitter. In 1932 Gibson joined the Pittsburgh Crawfords and then returned to the Grays.
In 1941 Gibson played for Vera Cruz of the Mexican League. In 1942 he was diagnosed as having a brain tumor. Gibson refused to have surgery and continued to play ball. Although his skills did decline, he managed to win the Negro National League batting title in 1945 and 1946. He died before the 1947 season began. The records that exist indicate that during his career Gibson hit more than 800 home runs and had a batting average well over .300, making him one of the outstanding hitters in baseball history.
Josh Gibson died on January 20, 1947, in Pittsburgh. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
The Negro Baseball Leagues A Photographic History
By Phil Dixon with Patrick J. Hannigan
Copyright 1992, Jed Clauss and Joanna Paulsen
Ameron House Publishing