Josh Gibson, the man that many regard as the greatest Negro League player ever, was born on December 21, 1911, in Buena Vista, Georgia. He relocated to southwestern Pennsylvania in 1924 after his father found work in a Pittsburgh area steel mill.
After playing for the Gimbel Brothers and Westinghouse Airbrake company teams, Josh began catching for the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1927. With the addition of Gibson, the Crawfords rose to the top of the city's sandlot teams and challenged Cumberland Posey's Homestead Grays, a stellar club of Black professional baseball players from across the nation.
During Gibson's career, he played ball with Hall of Famers Oscar Charlston, Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson, and Satchel Paige. The Homestead Grays won an unprecedented nine consecutive Negro National League pennants with Gibson behind the plate.
Due to sporadic statistical accounting in the Negro Leagues, reports vary regarding the number of home runs Josh Gibson hit, with some estimates as high as 962. During his career, Gibson never played on a losing team. Moreover, it was rumored that Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bill Bensawanger signed Josh to a Major League contract in 1943, a full four years before Jackie Robinson entered the league, but Major League Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Landis allegedly would not allow Gibson to play.
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