The Josh Gibson Centennial Negro League Gala, presented by PNC Bank, will be held Aug. 13 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh in Downtown. Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris, is serving as an honorary co-chair of the event along with his wife, Dana Harris.
Josh Gibson, the star catcher and prolific home run hitter for the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords during the 1930s, was born on Dec. 21, 1911 in Buena Vista, Ga. He moved to Pittsburgh in 1923 when his father found work in the steel industry.
Gibson, who is often called “the Black Babe Ruth,” is believed to have hit nearly 800 home runs during his 17-year career. He died at the age of 35 in 1947 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1972. The Josh Gibson Centennial Negro League Gala will be the signature event of this year’s celebration of his achievements.
Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson will attend the Aug. 13 gala and accept the Josh Gibson Legacy Award. In addition, members of the Pirates’ historic (and Major League Baseball’s first) all-Black line-up that faced the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 1, 1971 will be honored at the Josh Gibson Centennial Negro League Gala in conjunction with the G.I.B.S.O.N. Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in government, sports, business, civil service, community service and education.
Other G.I.B.S.O.N. Award honorees include Rep. Jake Wheatley, Chuck Sanders, Jeremy Krock, Duquesne University, the 1971 All-Black Pirates line-up and the Tuskegee Airmen.
“The 100th anniversary of Josh Gibson’s birth provides a perfect time for us to recognize his life and his many achievements,” said Sean Gibson. “He was a great ballplayer and a great man, and I’m absolutely thrilled to have other great athletes such as Franco Harris, Reggie Jackson and Al Oliver involved with our centennial gala.”
(Information regarding tickets and sponsorship opportunities for the Josh Gibson Centennial Negro League Gala are available by logging on to www.joshgibson.org or by calling 412-771-6949.)