Hall of Famer Josh Gibson becomes MLB’s best hitter and continues to inspire

Hall of Famer Josh Gibson becomes MLB’s best hitter and continues to inspire

Buena Vista, Ga – In June, Major League Baseball officials decided to include the Negro League Baseball records into their own statistics. The landmark decision shuffled the rankings in several categories.

It means that Josh Gibson, a Hall of Fame player and Buena Vista, Georgia native, now has the best batting average in baseball history with .372.

Sports historians like Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Curator Nathan Jones believes including the Negro League Baseball records was the right call.

“It’s probably the best way they could have done it. You know black baseball has been overlooked severely in American Sports history and this is a great step in the right direction,” said Jones.

Gibson was nicknamed “The Black Babe Ruth” for his incredible performances at the plate. Another place that was full of pride of Gibson, even before the MLB officially recognized and included his records, was his hometown in West Georgia.

“But as a small town, rural community, we look for those heroes in our community. Josh is definitely one of those heroes. It’s a story that we can use to really inspire our youth to do better as well,” said Mayor of Buena Vista Kevin Brown.

Mayor Brown, a Buena Vista native himself, told a story that he didn’t learn about Gibson’s ties his hometown until he was 21 years old listening to a presentation on the “Black Babe Ruth.” At that point Mayor Brown made it his mission to honor and teach Gibson’s legacy.

“Therefore we named the Josh Gibson Youth and Family Resource Center. We’re working on the Josh Gibson park. We’re trying to get a statue on the square, because I want those kids to know that someone like Josh Gibson came from this very small and rural community,” said Mayor Brown.

Buena Vista has also kept Gibson’s legacy alive on the baseball diamond. The Buena Vista Grays, named after the team Gibson played for, embrace the opportunity to honor Josh’s legacy and Black History as a whole.

“These guys they actually want to be the Grays. You know that makes us feel good as parents and coaches. We’re celebrating Josh and and Buena Vista but all of Negro League Baseball,” said Buena Vista Manager Norman Royal.

Even though Gibson passed away over 70 years ago, he still serves as an inspiration for the newest generation of Grays.

“He’s telling me that I need to believe in myself and I can make it out of Buena Vista, this small town,” said Buena Vista Royals player Kyle Royal.

Gibson never played in Major League Baseball. He died on January 20th, 1947 at 35 years old. Three months after his passing, Jackie Robinson would become the first man to break the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Gibson was also the 2nd ever Negro Leagues player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

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