During the first half of the twentieth century, Josh Gibson was a legendary figure among black baseball players, who were barred from playing in the major leagues. Perhaps baseball's greatest hitter, Gibson was known as "the black Babe Ruth." In this illuminating biography, William Brashler introduces an authentic American sports hero and recaptures the mood and style, the excitement and poignance of a world of black baseball that has vanished from the American scene. He traces Gibson's career from the sandlots and semi-pro teams of Pittsburgh, through his debut with the Homestead Grays in 1930, and on to his untimely death in 1947 at age thirty-five—the winter after Jackie Robinson broke through the minor leagues' color barrier. With 12 pages of black-and-white photographs.
"Brashler has put together a balanced account that, while deflating some of the apocryphal tales of Gibson's exploits, brings him into clear focus as one of the outstanding baseball players of his era....He emerges here as a stoic figure...totally dedicated to baseball."—New York Times Book Review.
"Brashler helps to cut through the legend of a moonfaced laughing giant and give us a sense of Josh's life, in and out of baseball."—New York Review of Books.
William Brashler is also the editor of The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, the highly regarded novel of a touring black baseball team in the pre-Jackie Robinson era, as well as two other novels, City Dogs and Giancana. He lives and writes in Chicago.