PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Negro League Baseball has long been a staple in U.S. history. However, it has been considered separate from those who played in the Major Leagues. Until now.
The Negro League began play in 1920, and in this, the centennial year, the highly talented records of players like Satchel Paige, “Cool Papa” Bell, Buck Leonard, Buck O’Neil and so many others — who took the brunt of racism from a separatist society that didn’t see them as equal — were recognized by Major League Baseball and “elevated to Major League status.”
Josh Gibson, who played in Pittsburgh for both the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords, may be the most well known player from the Negro Leagues. Gibson (1911 – 1947) would have turned 109-years-old Monday and his great grandson — and executive director of the Josh Gibson Foundation — Sean Gibson has been successful in keeping Gibson name and legacy alive.
Gibson, responding to the news that Josh Gibson’s statistics will be recognized in the Major Leagues, says this is, “…going to shake up the MLB stats due to his greatness of playing in the Negro Leagues.” Statistics from both leagues will be merged, which will most certainly move some historic players from the leaderboard and Gibson says, “Records are made to be broken.”
Gibson said, “Josh Gibson’s birthday is just part of the celebration, and a small representation of the sacrifice of Negro League players over the years. People can use this day as way to honor the legacy of those who made the league so great.”
The Josh Gibson Foundation is pushing for the MLB Most Valuable Player trophy to be renamed after Josh Gibson. The award is formerly named after Kenesaw Mountain Landis who served as Major League Baseball’s commissioner from 1920 to 1944. Landis was someone who championed segregation within baseball’s ranks and resisted integration of any kind in the league. Landis’ name was removed in October 2020 after some saw the name as controversial.
Gibson’s name has been floated as one to be the successor. However, it will come down to a vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 2021.