#Spotlight – This week we welcome our newest partner - The Josh Gibson Foundation!
July 25, 1930, Negro League Champion Kansas City Monarchs came to Pittsburgh to play an exhibition against the Grays. Kansas City had developed a portable lighting system that the team towed around the country and played at night to maximize attendance. The lights were dimmer than modern day lights.
Legend has it that the catcher for the Grays was Joe Williams who didn't pick up a ball in the dim lights broke a finger. The other catcher on the team was Vic Harris, who was in the outfield that night. So owner Cum Posey called Josh out of the stands and asked him to catch.
Gibson would go hitless that night, but the team would do everything it could to get his bat into the lineup for the rest of the season.
Roy Campanella would say that Gibson was “not only the greatest catcher but the greatest ballplayer I ever saw.”
1931 - HOMESTEAD GRAYS
The 1931 Homestead Grays were part of the American Negro League, a precursor to the Negro National and American Leagues that would emerge in 1932.
The Grays would play with the Cuban Stars East, the Baltimore Black Sox, and the Philadelphia Hilldale Giants.
The 19-year-old Gibson played on the Grays with Oscar Charleston, Bill Foster, Smokey Joe Williams, Jud Wilson, Ted Page, and Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe.
Gibson would slug 10 home runs at a .545 clip.
The infield consisted of Ted Page, George Scales, Jake Stephens, and Hall of Fame third baseman Jud Wilson. Both Bill Evans and George Britt played in the infield. Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston, Vic Harris, Ambrose Reid, and Ted Radcliffe made up the outfield. Then 19-year-old Josh Gibson and Benny Jones were the catchers.
The pitching staff consisted of Britt, Bill Foster, Joe Williams, Roy Williams, Charles Williams, and Radcliffe.
Cumberland (Cum) Posey served as manager and was responsible for scheduling most games.
Author Phil Dixon would chronicle this team in his book Phil Dixon's American Baseball Chronicles - Great Teams: The 1931 Homestead Grays Volume 1
JOSH GIBSON FOUNDATION
Read about the Foundation here
JOSH GIBSON HALL OF FAME SHIRT
As part of our celebration, we have created a new design that recognizes the 1972 Hall of Fame induction of the greatest hitter in the history of the Negro Leagues.
Each letter has an image of Josh's illustrious career for the:
- Homestead Grays (1929-1931, 1937-1940, 1942-1946)
- Pittsburgh Crawfords (1932-1936)
- Santurce Cangrejeros (1932)
- Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo (1937)
- Azules de Veracruz (1940-1941)
Proceeds from the Sales of these products benefit The Josh Gibson Foundation