Long ago, today

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“If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone. You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles. A hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles. You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.” (Hedy West)

The Josh Gibson Foundation announced plans for the Josh Gibson Centennial Negro League Gala recently at a news conference held at the Heinz History Center.

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AUBREY BRUCE

Sean Gibson said; “the event will be held on August 13 at the Wyndham Grand Hotel and will be the primary activity to honor the 100th anniversary of his great-grandfather.”

Josh Gibson began playing professionally for the Pittsburgh Crawfords at age 16.

Over the next 17 years, he was the catcher for both the Crawfords and Homestead Grays and best known for his exceptional home run-hitting power. Gibson died tragically in 1947.

Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer Franco Harris pointed out that “we look at a lot of different feats and things that were accomplished, but, just like in any sport, we know there were a lot of challenges also during that time, but the most important thing is that they met those challenges, came through those challenges and have left a great history for us, especially here in Pittsburgh.”

Legendary MLB Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson will receive the 2011 Josh Gibson Legacy Award at the event. Jackson hit 563 home runs over his 21-year major league career. The Josh Gibson Foundation will also use this special night to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Pirates fielding the first all-minority lineup in major league history.

Former Pirates Centerfielder Al (scoops) Oliver also reminisced; “It wasn’t a big deal to most of us but, when you [take a] look back you appreciate it more today than when it happened, [just] to be a part of history.”

Josh Gibson may be gone but his contributions and sacrifices should never be taken lightly by any American because he shed blood, sweat and tears not just to make the game of baseball better but to remove the cloak of racism from our lifestyles and our culture. What a difference one hundred years can make.

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