The Black Babe Ruth

by Taylor Kilgore, age 14

Josh Gibson is said to be one of the greatest baseball players ever. He was known as the “Black Babe Ruth,” and played in the Negro Leagues. His impressive statistics’ his reputation, and his nickname all stand testament to his incredible skill. Some experts at the time even considered him to be better than Babe Ruth.

Josh Gibson’s baseball career began with him playing for the Homestead Grays. After winning a championship for the Grays in 1931, he joined the Pittsburg Crawfords. About six years later, he reunited with the Grays, helping them win two more Negro League championships, in 1938 and 1939.

Gibson’s career started in 1929 when he was 18 years old, and continued until he was 35. By that time, seventeen years later, by he had accumulated 962 home runs, hitting 84 of these in one year alone. Gibson showed not only power, but also consistency. His lifetime batting average was .373.

Unfortunately, on January 20, 1947, at the age of 35, Josh Gibson died of a stroke. Some say he died of a broken heart, caused by the disappointment of not being one of the first Negro League baseball players to jump to the major leagues.

In 1972, Josh Gibson was finally recognized officially for his outstanding achievements, when he became the second Negro League player to be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

[Source: Think Quest]