Keeping Josh Gibson’s legacy alive
Remembering one of baseball’s greatest players
Good Morning, all! I hope your week and summer are going splendidly.
Last Thursday night, July 15, was a special night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Hartford Yard Goats. The AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies hosted a Negro Leagues Day Celebration, before and during the Yard Goats game against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Yard Goats partnered with the Josh Gibson Foundation to stage the event.
Josh Gibson was one of the greatest players of all time, starring in the Negro Leagues with the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords. He was the second Negro League player to be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He entered posthumously and was joined by fellow teammate Buck Leonard, whom I had the chance to interview in 1983.
The Josh Gibson foundation, formed in 1994, is helping to promote baseball and academics, among youth. I had the honor to interview Sean Gibson, Josh’s great grandson, who heads the foundation. We discussed numerous topics, including the discrimination faced by Negro League players and Blacks, once Major League Baseball was integrated, as well as the good work the Pittsburgh-based foundation performs.
Although MLB can never correct the wrong committed more than a century ago, it is engaging in acts of contrition. Correctly, the MVP trophies awarded to the American League and National League most valuable players, have been scrubbed of the name Kenesaw Mountain Landis, MLB’s first commissioner, who prevented the sport’s integration. A movement is underway to rename the trophies after either Gibson, Jackie Robinson or Frank Robinson. And MLB has added the numbers compiled by Negro League players to its official statistics.
If you have the chance, please visit the Josh Gibson Foundation website. It is filled with information about one of the greatest players, who ever played the game, as well as the purposed of the foundation.
ESPN hiring Mannings is a big deal
On Monday, ESPN announced the formation of a partnership with Peyton and Eli Manning. For the next three seasons, the former NFL quarterbacks will provide an alternate take to ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecast, featuring Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry.
Being promoted as an MNF Megacast, the Manning brothers will work 10 games each season on ESPN2. In a nutshell, the telecasts will feature the brothers and guests bantering about the football games, as if they were in your living room, watching the games with you.
Do not discount this coverage. Television and to a lesser extent radio admins are all pushing for a more conversational approach to how a game is presented to the viewing and listening public. Some are of the mindset the traditional play-by-play presentation is becoming outmoded, that with smartphones, tablets, social media, etc., that information is easily available. They advocate the living room approach or staging a talk show, while the game is in progress.
I am not saying I agree with all of this thinking, but the day may be coming soon, when the alternate broadcast of a game will be the play-by-play. In other words, technology is changing the paradigm before our very eyes and ears.
Losing two in one day
On this date, 48 years ago, knuckleball pitcher Wilbur Wood, a left-hander, started both games of a twi-night doubleheader for the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium and lost both of them to the Yankees, dropping his record to 18-14. Wood failed to retire a batter in the first inning of game one, allowing six runs in the Yankees’ eight-run inning. After New York won the opener, 12-2, manager Chuck Tanner brought Wood back to start game two. He lasted 4.1 innings and allowed seven runs, in the Yankees’ 7-0 rain-shortened victory.
The Yankees Felipe Alou had four hits in the doubleheader. His son, Luis Rojas, is the current manager of the New York Mets.
That’s it for this week! Be safe and as always, thanks for your support. And if you see fit to share this newsletter, I would be most appreciative.