Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Josh Gibson led Cuban League in home runs in 1938-39

Dec. 21: On this day in 1911, Negro leagues slugger Josh Gibson was born in Buena Vista, Ga.

Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, Gibson only played two seasons in the Cuban League, but they were significant ones.

In 1937-38, Gibson played for Habana. Although the team finished last, Gibson batted .344.

The following season, Gibson (left in a photo that sold for $1,150 on Robert Edwards Auction) helped lead Santa Clara to the league pennant, leading the league with 11 home runs and 50 runs scored while batting .356.

Gibson's teammates on that great Santa Clara team included Sam Bankhead, Ray Brown and Cuban stars Lazaro Salazar, Santos Amaro and Manuel Garcia.

Garcia and Brown each won 11 games. Salazar won six while batting .293 and also serving as the team's manager. Amaro batted .366.

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