Jr. / Son of baseball great who followed father into Negro Leagues
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Friday, September 12, 2003
By Ervin Dyer, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Josh Gibson Jr., the son of legendary Negro
League slugger Josh Gibson, died Wednesday at UPMC Presbyterian of complications
from a fall in his home Sunday. He was 73.
Mr. Gibson, who lived in Homewood, had baseball
in his blood.
Mr. Gibson's father was inducted into the Baseball
Hall of Fame for his storied 17-year career with the Pittsburgh Crawfords
and the Homestead Grays: he amassed a .354 batting average and hit 962
A young Mr. Gibson was witness to most of them.
He was a batboy for the Pittsburgh Crawfords when his father was with
The senior Gibson played before Jackie Robinson
broke the color barrier in 1945 in professional baseball, and he discouraged
his son from playing baseball because of the poverty and prejudice that
then trailed minority players.
The son didn't listen.
The younger Gibson followed his father into
the Negro Leagues.
He was originally signed by the minor league
Youngstown Colts at the age of 17 and later spent time in the Canadian
He played third base for the Homestead Grays
in 1949-50 but broke his ankle sliding into a base and never returned
to playing ball.
After he left baseball, he was employed at U.S.
Steel Corp.'s Homestead Works as a construction worker and by Browning
& Ferris Industries.
He returned to the diamond in the late 1970s
when he went to work for Manpower, a community employment agency, and
was sent to teach baseball to young people at Boyce Park.
Mr. Gibson's life was never too far removed
As interest in the Negro Leagues grew during
the 1990s, he spent a lot of time traveling to card-signing conventions
and accepting awards recognizing his father's accomplishments.
In 1992, Mr. Gibson met with President George
H.W. Bush at a celebrity-studded White House ceremony honoring surviving
members of the Negro Leagues.
In 1994, with his grandson Sean and other family
members, he founded the Josh Gibson Foundation, a nonprofit organization
that sponsors a youth league whose teams carry the names of the Negro
Leagues clubs and offers mentoring and education programs.
Two weeks ago, he took centerfield at the Pittsburgh
Pirates' celebration of the Negro Leagues and handed out scholarships
Mr. Gibson and his twin sister, Helen, were
born on Pittsburgh's North Side in 1930. Their mother, also named Helen,
died in childbirth. Mr. Gibson's father died in January 1947.
Mr. Gibson was raised in the Hill District and
graduated from Schenley High School.
He is survived by his wife, Gertrude Gibson
and three children from his first marriage: daughters Lillian Gibson Bailey
and Carla Gibson Bonner, both of McKees Rocks; and Josh Gibson III of
Visitation will be tomorrow from 4 to 8 p.m.
and Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. at White Memorial Chapel, Thomas Boulevard,
The funeral will be Monday afternoon in Shiloh
Community Baptist Church, 6940 Frankstown Road, Homewood. Burial will
follow in Homewood Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Josh Gibson
Foundation, Box 4310, Pittsburgh, 15204.