Josh Gibson

Joshua Gibson (c. December 21, 1911 – January 20, 1947) was an American Negro league baseball catcher. Baseball historians consider Gibson to be among the very best power hitters and catchers in the history of any league, including Major League Baseball (MLB). In 1972, he became the second Negro league player to be inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.[1]

Gibson played for the Homestead Grays from 1930 to 1931, moved to the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1932 to 1936, and returned to the Grays from 1937 to 1939 and 1942 to 1946. In 1937, he played for Ciudad Trujillo in Trujillo's Dominican League and from 1940 to 1941, he played in the Mexican League for Rojos del Águila de Veracruz. Gibson served as the first manager of the Santurce Crabbers, one of the most historic franchises of the Puerto Rico Baseball League.

Gibson was known as the "black Babe Ruth",[2] in fact, some fans at the time who saw both Ruth and Gibson play called Ruth "the white Josh Gibson".[3] Gibson never played in the major leagues because of the unwritten "gentleman's agreement" that prevented non-white players from participating. He stood 6-foot-1 (185 cm) and weighed 210 pounds (95 kg) at the peak of his career.[4]

Josh Gibson
Josh Gibson 1931
Josh Gibson in 1931
Born: December 21, 1911
Buena Vista, Georgia
Died: January 20, 1947 (aged 35)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Negro leagues debut
July 31, 1930, for the Homestead Grays
Last appearance
Career statistics
Batting average.359
Slugging percentage.648
Home Runs^ 800-1,000
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodNegro Leagues Committee

Early life

Josh Gibson Water Tower; Buena Vista, GA
A water tower in Buena Vista, Georgia, proudly proclaims the town to be the "Home of Josh Gibson".

Gibson was born in Buena Vista, Georgia, c. December 21, 1911.[5] In 1923, Gibson moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his father, Mark Gibson, found work at the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Company. Entering sixth grade in Pittsburgh, Gibson prepared to become an electrician, attending Allegheny Pre-Vocational School and Conroy Pre-Vocational School. His first experience playing baseball for an organized team came at age 16 when he played third base for an amateur team sponsored by Gimbels department store where he found work as an elevator operator. Shortly thereafter, he was recruited by the Pittsburgh Crawfords, which in 1928 was still a semi-professional team. The Crawfords, controlled by Gus Greenlee, was the top black semi-professional team in the Pittsburgh area and would advance to fully professional, major Negro league status by 1931.[6]

In 1928, Gibson met Helen Mason, whom he married on March 7, 1929. When not playing baseball, Gibson continued to work at Gimbels, having given up on his plans to become an electrician to pursue a baseball career. In the summer of 1930, the 18-year-old Gibson was recruited by Cumberland Posey, owner of the Homestead Grays, which was the preeminent Negro league team in Pittsburgh; Gibson debuted with the Grays on July 31, 1930. On August 11, Gibson's wife, who was pregnant with twins, went into premature labor and died while giving birth to a twin son, Josh Gibson, Jr., and daughter, Helen, named after her mother. The children were raised by Helen's parents.[6]

Baseball career and statistics

The Negro leagues generally found it more profitable to schedule relatively few league games and allow the teams to earn extra money through barnstorming against semi-professional and other non-league teams.[7] Thus, it is important to distinguish between records against all competition and records in league games only. For example, against all levels of competition Gibson hit 69 home runs in 1934; the same year in league games he hit 11 home runs in 52 games.[4][7]

1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords
Gibson (standing, center) with the 1932 Crawfords

In 1933, he hit .467 with 55 home runs in 137 games against all levels of competition. His lifetime batting average is said to be higher than .350, with other sources putting it as high as .384, the best in Negro league history.[8]

Gibson's Hall of Fame plaque states he hit "almost 800 home runs in league and independent baseball during his 17-year career."[9] (This figure includes vs. semi-pro competition and in exhibition games.) His lifetime batting average, according to the Hall's official data, was .359.[7] It was reported that he won nine home run titles and four batting championships playing for the Crawfords and the Grays. It is also believed that Gibson hit a home run in a Negro league game at Yankee Stadium that struck two feet from the top of the wall circling the center field bleachers, about 580 feet (180 m) from home plate. Although it has never been conclusively proven, Chicago American Giants infielder Jack Marshall said Gibson slugged one over the third deck next to the left field bullpen in 1934 for the only fair ball hit out of Yankee Stadium. Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith once said that Gibson hit more home runs into Griffith Stadium's distant left field bleachers than the entire American League.[10]

Josh Gibson HOF Plaque
Gibson's plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There is no published season-by-season breakdown of Gibson's home run totals in all the games he played in various leagues and exhibitions.

The true statistical achievements of Negro league players may be impossible to know as the Negro leagues did not compile complete statistics or game summaries.[7] Based on research of historical accounts performed for the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues, Gibson hit 224 homers in 2,375 at-bats against top black teams, 2 in 56 at-bats against white major-league pitchers and 44 in 450 AB in the Mexican League.[11] John Holway lists Gibson with the same home run totals and a .351 career average, plus 21 for 56 against white major-league pitchers.[11] According to Holway, Gibson ranks third all-time in the Negro leagues in average among players with 2,000+ AB (trailing Jud Wilson by three points and John Beckwith by one).[11] Holway lists him as being second to Mule Suttles in homers, though the all-time leader in HR/AB by a considerable margin – with a homer every 10.6 AB to one every 13.6 for runner-up Suttles.[11]

Recent investigations into Negro league statistics, using box scores from newspapers from across the United States, have led to the estimate that, although as many as two thirds of Negro league team games were played against inferior competition (as traveling exhibition games), Gibson still hit between 150 and 200 home runs in official Negro league games.[7] Though this number appears very conservative next to the claims of "almost 800" to 1000 home runs, this research also credits Gibson with a rate of one home run every 15.9 at bats, which compares favorably with the rates of the top nine home run hitters in Major League history. The commonly cited home run totals in excess of 800 are not indicative of his career total in "official" games because the Negro league season was significantly shorter than the Major League season; typically consisting of less than 60 games per year.[12] The additional home runs cited were most likely accomplished in "unofficial" games against local and non-Negro league competition of varying strengths, including the oft-cited "barnstorming" competitions.

Despite the fact that statistical validation continues to prove difficult for Negro league players, the lack of verifiable figures has led to various amusing "Tall Tales" about immortals such as Gibson.[13] A good example: In the last of the ninth at Pittsburgh, down a run, with a runner on base and two outs, Gibson hits one high and deep, so far into the twilight sky that it disappears from sight, apparently winning the game. The next day, the same two teams are playing again, now in Washington. Just as the teams have positioned themselves on the field, a ball comes falling out of the sky and a Washington outfielder grabs it. The umpire yells to Gibson, "You're out! In Pittsburgh, yesterday!"


In early 1943, Gibson fell into a coma and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After regaining consciousness, he refused the option of surgical removal and lived the next four years with recurring headaches. In 1944, Gibson was hospitalized in Washington, D.C. at Gallinger Hospital for mental observation.[14] On January 20, 1947, Gibson died of a stroke in Pittsburgh. Some people believe the stroke was linked to drug problems that plagued him in his later years.[15] He was buried at the Allegheny Cemetery in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where he lay in an unmarked grave until a small plaque was placed in 1975.[16]


Negro league Hall of Fame exhibit 2014
Negro league baseball exhibit featuring Gibson's portrait at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Even though Jackie Robinson became the first black player in modern major league history in April 1947, Larry Doby, who broke the American League color barrier that July, felt that Gibson was the best black player in 1945,[17] and 1946.[18] Doby said in an interview later, "One of the things that was disappointing and disheartening to a lot of the black players at the time was that Jack was not the best player. The best was Josh Gibson. I think that's one of the reasons why Josh died so early – he was heartbroken."[18]

In 1972, Gibson and Buck Leonard became the second and third players, behind Satchel Paige, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame based on their careers in the Negro leagues.[19] Gibson's Hall of Fame plaque claims "almost 800" home runs for his career.

The U.S. Postal Service issued a 33-cent U.S. commemorative postage stamp which features a painting of Gibson and includes his name.[20]

In 2000, he ranked 18th on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, the highest-ranking of five players to have played all or most of their careers in the Negro leagues. (The others were Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston.) That same year, he was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

In 2009, a statue of Gibson was installed inside the center field gate of Nationals Park along with ones of Frank Howard and Walter Johnson.

He was named to the Washington Nationals Ring of Honor for his "significant contribution to the game of baseball in Washington, D.C" as part of the Homestead Grays on August 10, 2010.

Ammon Field at 2217 Bedford Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was renamed Josh Gibson Field in his honor and is the site of a Pennsylvania State Historical Marker.[21]

His son, Josh Gibson, Jr., played baseball for the Homestead Grays.[22] His son also was instrumental in the forming of the Josh Gibson Foundation.[23][24][25]

An opera based on Josh Gibson's life, The Summer King (opera), by composer Daniel Sonenberg, premiered on April 29, 2017, in Pittsburgh, PA.[26][27]


1943 Homestead Grays
1943 Homestead Grays


  • Gibson played baseball in the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Mexico, with a lifetime batting average of .354–.384, depending on which statistics are counted.[28]
  • Starting in 1932–1933, Gibson played in Puerto Rico. In 1941–1942, Gibson played for the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League. Playing for the Santurce Crabbers, Gibson won the batting title that season with an average of .480, recognized as the record for that league.[29][30]
  • Barry Bonds referred to "Josh Gibson's 800 home runs" in his post-game press conference after hitting his 756th MLB home run.[31]

Career statistics

Negro leagues

According to the Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia, Josh Gibson's Negro official league stats were as follows: Total years played: 16. Total games played: 501. Total career at bats: 1679. Total career hits: 607. Total career 2B hits: 89. Total career 3B hits: 35. Total career HR: 146. Total career SB: 11. Career batting average: .362.

The first official statistics for the Negro leagues were compiled as part of a statistical study sponsored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and supervised by Larry Lester and Dick Clark, in which a research team collected statistics from thousands of boxscores of league-sanctioned games.[7] The first results from this study were the statistics for Negro league Hall of Famers elected prior to 2006, which were published in Shades of Glory by Lawrence D. Hogan. These statistics include the official Negro league statistics for Josh Gibson:[7]

1930 Homestead 21 71 13 24 2 0 5 17 0 5 .338 .577
1931 Homestead 32 124 26 38 8 5 6 23 0 11 .306 .597
1932 Pittsburgh 49 191 34 62 10 5 8 28 0 21 .325 .555
1933 Pittsburgh 38 138 32 54 6 2 8 31 1 9 .391 .638
1934 Homestead 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500
1934 Pittsburgh 52 190 39 62 14 3 11 27 2 19 .326 .605
1935 Pittsburgh 35 145 37 54 10 2 8 29 7 16 .372 .634
1936 Pittsburgh 26 90 27 39 3 2 6 18 1 13 .433 .711
1937 Homestead 25 97 39 41 7 4 13 36 1 17 .423 .979
1938 Homestead 28 105 31 38 4 1 3 9 1 13 .362 .505
1939 Homestead 21 74 22 27 3 2 10 22 3 20 .365 .865
1940 Homestead 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000
1942 Homestead 42 138 36 42 6 1 7 38 2 32 .304 .514
1943 Homestead 55 192 69 91 24 5 12 74 3 39 .474 .839
1944 Homestead 34 123 27 44 4 3 9 34 1 15 .358 .659
1945 Homestead 17 62 12 17 2 4 2 15 0 11 .274 .532
1946 Homestead 33 111 22 32 6 2 7 31 0 12 .288 .568
Total 16 seasons 510 1855 467 666 109 41 115 432 22 255 .359 .648

Dominican League

Year Team AB H BA
1937 Ciudad Trujillo 53 24 .453


Mexican League

1940 Veracruz 22 92 32 43 7 4 11 38 3 16 .467 .989
1941 Veracruz 94 358 100 134 31 3 33 124 7 75 .374 .754
Total 2 seasons 116 450 132 177 38 7 44 162 10 91 .393 .802


Cuban (Winter) League

1937/38 Habana 61 11 21 3 2 3 13 .344 .607
1938/39 Santa Clara 163 50 58 7 3 11 39 2 .356 .638
Total 2 seasons 224 61 79 10 5 14 52 .353 .629


See also


  1. ^ National Baseball Hall of Fame, Josh Gibson [1] Retrieved April 16, 2015
  2. ^ "Josh Gibson". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  3. ^ Brashler, William (1978) Josh Gibson: A Life in the Negro Leagues. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. ISBN 1-56663-295-1
  4. ^ a b Riley, James A. (1994). The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6.
  5. ^ Hellmann, Paul T. (May 13, 2013). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge. p. 221. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Ribowsky, Mark (2004). Josh Gibson: The Power and the Darkness. Urbana, Illinois, USA: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-07224-3.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Hogan, Lawrence D. (2006). Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic. ISBN 0-7922-5306-X.
  8. ^ Kroichick, Ron (August 27, 2010). "NEGRO LEAGUE LEGEND / THE BLACK BABE / Josh Gibson may have been the greatest home-run hitter ever". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  9. ^ "Gibson, Josh". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  10. ^ Lowry, Philip (2006). Green Cathedrals. Walker & Company. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-8027-1608-8.
  11. ^ a b c d e Holway, John B. (2001). The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History. Fern Park, Florida: Hastings House Publishers. ISBN 0-8038-2007-0.
  12. ^ 1939 in baseball#Negro National League final standings
  13. ^ Peterson, Robert (1970). "Only the Ball Was White".
  14. ^ "Negro League Star Held in Hospital for Mental Observation". Ghosts of DC. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  15. ^ *Ribowsky, Mark (2004). Josh Gibson The Power and The Darkness. Urbana IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-07224-6.
  16. ^ "Josh Gibson A Life that Inspired a Movie Character". BingoHall Blog. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  17. ^ "800 Home Run Club, Josh Gibson: The African-American Babe Ruth by Liz Banks, 31 December 2013".
  18. ^ a b Moore, Joseph Thomas (1988). Pride and Prejudice: The Biography of Larry Doby. New York: Praeger Publishers. p. 30. ISBN 0275929841.
  19. ^ [2] Archived January 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ The following article includes a photo of a poster-size copy of the postage stamp. "Awards To Honor Legacy Of Negro League Baseball Great". CBS Pittsburgh KDKA-2. CBS Local Media. August 12, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  21. ^ "Joshua (Josh) Gibson Marker". Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  22. ^ "Negro Leagues Baseball eMuseum: Personal Profiles: Josh Gibson, Jr". August 11, 1930. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  23. ^ "Josh Gibson Foundation". Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  24. ^ Maroon, Annie (June 25, 2011). "Pittsburgh's Negro League heritage celebrated". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Batchelor Pad blog. Archived from the original on July 23, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2011. The Josh Gibson Foundation ... will host the Josh Gibson Centennial Negro League Gala on Aug. 13 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh. The event will honor the 100th anniversary of the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords slugger's birth in 1911.
  25. ^ Gonzalez, Alden (February 1, 2010). "Negro Leagues Museum in financial straits: Deficit reflects dwindling donations in struggling economy". Kansas City Royals website. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved October 21, 2011. ... Sean Gibson, the great-grandson of Hall of Famer Josh Gibson and the head of the Josh Gibson Foundation in Pittsburgh.
  26. ^ Keyes, Bob (April 30, 2017). "Portland composer fulfills dream, hits home run with baseball opera". Portland (Me.) Press Herald ( Portland Press Herald. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  27. ^ O'Neill, Brian (May 4, 2017). "Josh Gibson's epic story takes center stage". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  28. ^ " No joshing about Gibson's talents". Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  29. ^ Vázquez, Edwin; ''Beisbol De Ligas Negras''-''James "Cool Papa" Bell Beisbox Caribe''; December 22, 2006 Archived August 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Bjarkman, Peter C.; "Winter pro baseball's proudest heritage passes into oblivion" Archived November 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Curry, Jack (August 9, 2007). "No. 757 for Bonds follows long night". The New York Times.
  32. ^ Treto Cisneros, Pedro (2002). The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics, 1937–2001. Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland & Company. p. 151. ISBN 0-7864-1378-6.
  33. ^ Figueredo, Jorge S. (2003). Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878–1961. Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland & Company. pp. 222, 225. ISBN 0-7864-1250-X.

Further reading



  • Brashler, William. Josh Gibson: a Life in the Negro Leagues. Harper & Row, 1978.
  • Buckley, James Jr. 1,001 Facts About Hitters. DK Publishing, 2004.
  • Figueredo, Jorge. Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History. McFarland & Company, 2003.
  • Holway, John. The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues. Hastings House, 2001.
  • Lester, Larry. Black Baseball's National Showcase. University of Nebraska Press, 2001.
  • Peterson, Robert. Only the Ball Was White. Gramercy, 1970.
  • Ribowsky, Mark. Josh Gibson The Power and The Darkness. University of Illinois Press, 2004.
  • Riley, James. The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Carrol & Graf, 1994.
  • Rogosin, Donn. Invisible Men. Atheneum, 1983.
  • Snyder, Brad. Beyond the Shadow of the Senators. McGraw-Hill, 2004.
  • Treto Cisneros, Pedro. The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics. McFarland & Company, 2002.

External links

1972 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1972 followed the system established one year earlier.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected three: Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, and Early Wynn.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It also selected three people: Lefty Gomez, Will Harridge, and Ross Youngs.

The Negro Leagues Committee met for the second time and selected Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard.

2014 Hawthorn Football Club season

The 2014 season was the Hawthorn Football Club's 90th season in the Australian Football League and 113th overall. Hawthorn entered the season as the defending AFL Premiers.

2016 Hawthorn Football Club season

The 2016 season was the Hawthorn Football Club's 92nd season in the Australian Football League and 115th overall, the 17th season playing home games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the 16th season playing home games at Aurora Stadium, the 12th season under head coach Alastair Clarkson, and the 6th season with Luke Hodge as club captain. Hawthorn entered the season as the three-time defending AFL premiers, having won back-to-back-to-back AFL premierships.

Hawthorn improved on its 16–6 record in 2015, finishing in 3rd with a 17–5 record. The 19 point win over Carlton in round 19 clinched a finals series appearance for the 7th consecutive season. The 1 point win over Collingwood in round 23 clinched a double chance for the 6th consecutive season.

Hawthorn were defeated by Geelong 83–85 in the qualifying final. Isaac Smith had the chance to win the game with a goal after the siren but hooked the kick right of the goal. This ended a three-game finals winning streak. It was also the second consecutive season Hawthorn were defeated in the Qualifying final. Hawthorn were eliminated from the finals by the eventual premiers Western Bulldogs 84–107 in the semi-final, ending their chances of a four-peat, the second four-peat in VFL/AFL history after Collingwood (1927–1930), and the first four-peat in the AFL era. Hawthorn became the 6th team since the introduction of the AFL final eight system to be eliminated in straight-sets, joining Port Adelaide (2001), West Coast (2007), Geelong and Fremantle (2014), and Sydney (2015). This was the first time since 2010 Hawthorn didn't win a final, the first time since 2010 Hawthorn didn't advance to the preliminary final, and the first time since 2011 Hawthorn didn't advance to the AFL Grand Final.

Brooklyn Bushwicks

The Brooklyn Bushwicks were an independent, semi-professional baseball team that played its games almost totally in Dexter Park in Queens from 1913 to 1951. They were unique at their time for fielding multi-ethnic rosters. They played what amounts to exhibition games against barnstorming Negro league teams, minor league baseball teams, and other semi-pro teams. The Bushwicks were owned by Max Rosner, who hired many former major league to play on his club, including Dazzy Vance and others. Many of the famous players of the time came to play exhibitions at Dexter Park including Dizzy Dean, Hank Greenberg, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe Medwick. Until he became friends with Rosner, Ruth demanded upfront payments in cash before agreeing to personal appearances. The DiMaggio picture was taken during his debut year with Yankees.

The great black stars, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and many others often opposed the Bushwicks. The team appeared on New York City television and on radio as well. The team's picture appeared in three different Spaulding Guides. A book on the Bushwicks by Thomas Barthel entitled, "Baseball's Peerless Semipros: The Brooklyn Bushwicks of Dexter Park," was published in 2009.

Buck Leonard

Walter Fenner "Buck" Leonard (September 8, 1907 – November 27, 1997) was an American first baseman in Negro league baseball and in the Mexican League. After growing up in North Carolina, he played for the Homestead Grays between 1934 and 1950, batting fourth behind Josh Gibson for many years. The Grays teams of the 1930s and 1940s were considered some of the best teams in Negro league history.

Leonard never played in Major League Baseball (MLB); he declined a 1952 offer of an MLB contract because he felt he was too old. Late in life, Leonard worked as a physical education instructor and was the vice-president of a minor league baseball team. He and Gibson were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. In 1999, he was ranked number 47 on the 100 Greatest Baseball Players list by The Sporting News.

Buena Vista, Georgia

Buena Vista ( BEW-nə-VIS-tə) is a city in Marion County, Georgia, United States. It is part of the Columbus, Georgia-Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,664 at the 2000 census. Formerly known as Pea Ridge, the city changed its name to Buena Vista in honor of Zachary Taylor's victory in the Mexican–American War. The city is the county seat of Marion County. It is the birthplace of baseball legend, Josh Gibson and Medal of Honor recipient Luther H. Story. The visionary art site Pasaquan [2] is located four miles (6 km) from Buena Vista, in rural Marion County.

Greenlee Field

Greenlee Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, was the first black-built and black-owned major league baseball field in the United States.

The field was the dream of Gus Greenlee, owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords. In 1931, construction started on Bedford Avenue between Chauncy and Duff in Pittsburgh's Hill District. The park opened on April 29, 1932, and reportedly cost $100,000. The first game was the next day, April 30, 1932, and had future hall of famers Satchel Paige pitching to catcher Josh Gibson as City Council members, the Allegheny County commissioners, and Mayor Kline watched from the stands. Greenlee Field held 7,500 spectators and it was the home field for the Crawfords throughout the Great Depression era. The Homestead Grays also played there for a time.

Greenlee Field was located a few blocks up Bedford Avenue from Ammon Field, home to the Pittsburgh Keystones. Contemporary city directories list the ballpark's address as 2501 Bedford Avenue.

Greenlee was forced to shut out blacks from ballpark jobs during the 1938 season. This angered the team's fans, and attendance lagged as a result. After the season, the Crawfords disbanded and Greenlee Field was torn down. The Bedford Dwellings housing project was later developed on the property.

The Pittsburgh Steelers used the field for in-season practices during the 1930s.

Homestead Grays

The Homestead Grays (also known as Washington Grays or Washington Homestead Grays) were a professional baseball team that played in the Negro leagues in the United States.

The team was formed in 1912 by Cumberland Posey, and remained in continuous operation for 38 seasons. The team was originally based in Homestead, Pennsylvania, adjacent to Pittsburgh. By the 1920s, with increasing popularity in the Pittsburgh region, the team retained the name "Homestead" but crossed the Monongahela River to play all home games in Pittsburgh, at the Pittsburgh Pirates' home Forbes Field and the Pittsburgh Crawfords' home Greenlee Field.

From 1940 until 1942, the Grays played half of their home games in Washington, D.C., while remaining in Pittsburgh for all other home stands. As attendance at their games in the nation's capital grew, by 1943, the Grays were playing more than two-thirds of their home games in Washington.

Josh Gibson (Amrany)

Josh Gibson is a public artwork by sculptor Omri Amrany, located at the Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., United States.

Josh Gibson (footballer)

Joshua Gibson (born 13 March 1984) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the North Melbourne Football Club and Hawthorn Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He is a member of Hawthorn's 2013, 2014 and 2015 premiership winning teams.

Currently he is host of the CBS Sports programme Sports Tonight on their Australian division, Network 10.

Josh Gibson Field

Josh Gibson Field is a baseball venue located in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The field was known as Ammon Field or sometimes Ammons Field until 2008, when it was renamed for Baseball Hall of Fame player Josh Gibson.

Gibson began his career at Ammon Field in 1929 while playing with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, and continued playing there, as the Crawfords and Homestead Grays regularly played at Ammon. Known as the "black Babe Ruth," Gibson was a leading home run hitter until his death from a stroke in 1947 at age 35. In 1972, he became the second Negro Leagues player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Originally a youth semi-pro team, the Crawfords eventually played at Ammon Field, earned a strong reputation and attracted games with many white teams. W.O.W., the defending champions of the white Greater Pittsburgh Semipro Tournament, played the Crawfords at Ammon on June 15, 1930. Although usually covering on the fully professional Homestead Grays, the Pittsburgh Courier reported the 9–8 Crawfords victory.

Grays owner and manager Cum Posey recognized the Crawfords competition with his own team and sought to undermine their appeal.

In 1929, he persuaded Crawfords manager Hooks Tinker to take on his older brother Seward "See" Posey as a part-time assistant and booker. While admission to the Crawfords amateur games were free by law, at one tournament in 1930, See Posey closed all but one gate to the park and required fans to make contribution, with two police officers stationed at the gate. After the game, he brought Tinker a burlap bag with $2000 in small bills. The Posey brothers were also able to lure Gibson to play with the Grays.

Displaced by a low-cost housing project, Ammon Field was moved in the 1940s a block west from its original location. It was ultimately configured as two smaller fields suitable for youth leagues. In 1996, a historical marker commemorating Josh Gibson's career was erected at the newer park site, 2217 Bedford Avenue. It reads: "Hailed as Negro Leagues' greatest slugger, he hit some 800 home runs in a baseball career that began here at Ammons [sic] Field in 1929. Played for Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords, 1930-46. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, '72."

The original name of the park honored Edith Darlington Ammon, a pioneer in establishing playgrounds in the city.

Josh Gibson Jr.

Joshua Gibson Jr. (August 11, 1930 – September 10, 2003) was a former African-American baseball infielder in the Negro Leagues. He played in 1949 and 1950 for the Homestead Grays. He also played with the Farnham Pirates in the Provincial League in 1951. His father, Josh Gibson Sr., played in the Negro Leagues, and considered one of the greatest power hitters in baseball history.

Legacy Awards (NLBM)

The Legacy Awards are presented annually by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) to the best players, managers, and executives in each league of Major League Baseball, for on- and off-the-field achievement. The awards—for performance and achievement—are named for legendary players of Negro Leagues Baseball. The awards were first presented for the 2000 Major League Baseball season.The first Legacy Awards—in 2000—were presented in November at the "Legacy 2000 Players’ Reunion and Awards Banquet", which was organized to honor the tenth anniversary of the opening of the museum and the eightieth anniversary of the establishment of the Negro National League. For the next nine years (2001–2009), each year's awards were presented at a banquet in January or February of the following year. In 2010, there was no banquet. Instead, the awards were presented at separate events at the museum and in various major-league ballparks through the spring of 2011. The twelfth annual awards (for 2011) were presented at an awards banquet on January 28, 2012.In January, 2013 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick announced that the 2013 awards banquet would be the final one held. All further awards will be presented to the 2010 awards, at various MLB ballparks or if the award winner happens to be in Kansas City with his team to play against the Royals. The logistics of off-season travel were the primary reason cited by Kendrick for the permanent change. Indeed, of all those honored for their 2012 season only the Padres Everth Cabrera, traveling from his off-season home in Nicaragua, was able to make it to Kansas City for the January 12th banquet and presentation. Previously, the proceeds from the Legacy Awards annual banquet were used for the benefit of the museum.

List of baseball parks in Pittsburgh

This is a list of venues used for professional baseball in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The information is a synthesis of the information contained in the references listed.

Note: Allegheny, Pennsylvania, the "North Side", was a separate city until 1908. The ball club changed its formal name from "Allegheny" to "Pittsburg(h)" in 1887, although the team remained physically located in the city of Allegheny.

Recreation Park


Allegheny - Independent (1876), joined International Association (1877–1878)

Allegheny/Pittsburgh - American Association (1884–1886), moved to National League (1887–1890)

Location: buildings and Allegheny Avenue (west, third base); Pennsylvania Avenue (north, left field); Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway (now Norfolk Southern Fort Wayne Line) (northeast, center field); buildings and Grant (now Galveston) Avenue (east, right field); Boquet (now Behan) Street (south, first base)

Currently: BusinessesExposition Park


Pittsburgh Stogies - Union Association (1884)

Pittsburgh Burghers - Players' League (1890)

Allegheny - American Association (1882–1883)

Pittsburgh Pirates - National League (1891 – mid-1909)

Pittsburgh - Pennsylvania State League (1892)

Pittsburgh Stogies/Rebels - Federal League (1913 as minor league, 1914–1915 as major league)

Location: South Avenue (north, first base) - corresponds to the current General Robinson Street; School Avenue (later Scotland Avenue, now Tony Dorsett Drive) (east, third base); railroad tracks and Allegheny River (south, left field) - just east of the future site of Three Rivers Stadium

Currently: Parking lot for Heinz FieldForbes Field


Pittsburgh Pirates - NL (mid-1909 to mid-1970)

Homestead Grays - Negro Leagues (1922–1939)

Pittsburgh Crawfords - Negro Leagues (1933–1938)

Location: Oakland district - Boquet Street (southwest, first base); Sennott Street (northwest, third base), Joncaire Street (south, right field); Schenley Park (northeast, left/center fields)

Currently: Park and buildings for University of PittsburghAmmon Field aka Ammons Field


Pittsburgh Crawfords - Negro Leagues (1920s and 1930s)

Homestead Grays - Negro Leagues

Location: 2217 Bedford Avenue (south); Somers Drive (east)

Currently: playground and Josh Gibson Field diamondsGreenlee Field

Occupant: Pittsburgh Crawfords - Negro Leagues (1932–1938)

Location: 2501 Bedford Avenue (south, first base); Municipal Hospital (now Garden of Hope) (east, right field)

Currently: Bedford Dwellings housing projectThree Rivers Stadium

Occupants: Pittsburgh Pirates - NL (mid-1970 – 2000)

Location: 600 Stadium Circle

Currently: Parking lot for Heinz FieldPNC Park

Occupant: Pittsburgh Pirates - NL (2001–present)

Location: 115 Federal Street - Federal Street (east, left field); General Robinson Street (north, third base); Mazeroski Way (west, first base); North Shore Trail and Allegheny River (south, right field)

Negro league baseball

The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams predominantly made up of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920 that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues".

In 1885 the Cuban Giants formed the first black professional baseball team. The first league, the National Colored Base Ball League, was organized strictly as a minor league but failed in 1887 after only two weeks owing to low attendance. The Negro American League of 1951 is considered the last major league season and the last professional club, the Indianapolis Clowns, operated as a humorous sideshow rather than competitively from the mid-1960s to the 1980s.

Perry South (Pittsburgh)

Perry South (also known as Perry Hilltop) is a neighborhood on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's North Side.

The neighborhood takes its name from Perrysville Avenue, which "was a part of the Venango trail, an Indian path leading north of 'Allegheny Town'. Commodore Perry used the Trail to carry supplies from Pittsburgh to Erie for his lake battle against the British during the War of 1812." Perrysville Avenue is an extension of Federal Street, the main north-south thoroughfare of old Allegheny City. Federal Street ends, and Perrysville Avenue begins, where the flat river plain gives way to a steep hill. Perry South is thus a hilltop neighborhood that runs along Perrysville Avenue from the river plain (on the south) to Riverview Park (on the north). The hill on which the neighborhood is built provides natural borders to the west (the Charles Street valley), to the east (the East Street valley), and to the south (Pleasant Valley).

The neighborhood was developed as a streetcar suburb, so it consists almost exclusively of residential housing, with a small business district at the intersection of Perrysville Avenue and Charles Avenue. It experienced white flight after 1960: from 1960 to 1970, the neighborhood's total population declined from 16,000 people to 13,000, while its African-American population, which had formerly been located almost exclusively in the Charles Street valley, increased from 15% to 20%. From 1970 to 2000, the total population decreased to just 5,200 people, of whom 65% were African-American. Current residents have formed the Perry South Citizens Council in an effort to prevent decay and to improve the neighborhood's business district.The southwestern corner of the neighborhood was once called Pleasant Valley, a small area that was nevertheless once considered to be a neighborhood in its own right. A 1977 report about Pleasant Valley states that "Pleasant Valley was formerly known as Snyder's Hollow and its stream was

a favorite ice skating spot. Primarily, the neighborhood was settled by Germans, Irish, Italians and Poles. Josh Gibson, Hall of Fame catcher for the Homestead Grays, a Negro National League team of the 1920s, lived there." Pleasant Valley consists of rowhouses which were built by the owners of the Pleasant Valley Street Railway - which operated the streetcars that first allowed Perry South to be developed. A series of these rowhouses, on Brightridge Street, have been listed with the National Register of Historic Places.

Peter Crimmins Medal

The Peter Crimmins Medal is an Australian rules football award given to the player(s) from the Hawthorn Football Club deemed best and fairest for the season. Peter Crimmins was a rover for Hawthorn, playing from 1966–1975. He died of cancer just days after the club's 1976 premiership win. The voting system as of the 2017 AFL season, consists of four coaches awarding votes after each match, players can receive a maximum of 16 votes for a game.

Robert Gaston

Robert "Rab Roy" Gaston (March 19, 1910 – February 11, 2000) was an African-American baseball catcher in the Negro Leagues. He played from 1933 to 1948, mostly with the Homestead Grays. He spent the majority of his career as the backup catcher to Josh Gibson.

Sam Bankhead

Samuel Howard Bankhead (September 18, 1910 – July 24, 1976) was an American baseball player in the Negro Leagues. He played from 1931 to 1951. He also played for the Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo along with Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. In 1951, he became the first black coach in Minor League Baseball when he was a player-manager for the Farnham Pirates of the Provincial League. He played in several East-West all-star games from 1933 to 1946.At age 26, Bankhead married Helen M. Hall on 25 February 1937 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He died in Allegheny in July 1976.His brothers Joe, Fred, and Garnett all also played in the Negro Leagues, and his brother Dan played Major League Baseball.

Veterans Committee
Negro League Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
Executives /

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