‘Today is a great day’: Josh Gibson’s great-grandson reacts to MLB incorporating Negro Leagues stats

PITTSBURGH — Wednesday became a historic day in Major League Baseball as the statistics from the Negro Leagues were incorporated into the MLB record books. Star players from the Homestead Grays, and the Pittsburgh Crawfords now officially sit atop some of MLB’s categories. Channel 11′s Jenna Harner spoke with the great-grandson of one of the best players in Negro League history.

Some experts say Josh Gibson was one of the best power hitters and catchers in baseball history. Now, he officially becomes MLB’s career, and season batting average leader -- and a leader in 4 other categories. A day his great-grandson, Sean Gibson, says was long overdue.

“Today is a great day for not just the Gibson family but also all the other Negro League families,” Gibson said.

>>> Josh Gibson now career, season batting leader as MLB incorporates Negro Leagues stats

It’s a day that’s a long time coming. The stats of more than 2,300 Negro League players are officially in the MLB record books.

“Of course we know the Josh Gibsons’, the Satchel Paiges’, the Cool Papa Bells’ and a Buck Leonards’,” Gibson said. “But there’s also gonna be some names that are going to be recognized that we’re very excited about.”

In December 2020, Channel 11 brought you the story of MLB recognizing the Negro Leagues as a major league -- paving the way for the stats to be included. But it’s taken three and a half years to compile, and accurately verify those stats.

“Our own Pittsburgh Courier played a big part of this,” Gibson said. “We had two of the greatest teams right here in Pittsburgh, the Grays and the Crawfords. So it was a long hard fought effort to get this done. And the timing couldn’t be better.”

Today, Gibson says is about so much more.

“Now, when a kid Google’s top batting average or top player in MLB, they’re going to see Negro League baseball players,” Gibson said. “I think the most important part is that it’s not about the baseball stats. It’s about educating the community about these players.”

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