Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Station Square Park Will Honor Josh Gibson, Other Negro League Legends

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Station Square Park Will Honor Josh Gibson, Other Negro League Legends

Article excerpt

Few cities have as rich a Negro League tradition as Pittsburgh, and that tradition is about to get a whole lot richer.

After 10 years of planning and fundraising, the Josh Gibson Foundation held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning for the Josh Gibson Heritage Park at Station Square. The park, expected to open next spring, will feature four monuments celebrating the careers and legacies of iconic Negro League ballplayers Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell and Cumberland Posey.

Sean Gibson, executive director of the Josh Gibson Foundation and great-grandson of the Negro League legend, said the moment was a long time coming.

"It's not just exciting for Josh Gibson, it's exciting for the other great Negro League baseball players, and also the city of Pittsburgh," Sean Gibson said. "We have a great tradition here with the Negro Leagues."

All four players being immortalized were members of one of the area's two Negro League teams - the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays. Sean Gibson said the park will expand in 2019 to feature four more local legends - Judy Johnson, Buck Leonard, Oscar Charleston and Vic Harris.

Josh Gibson, nicknamed "The Summer King" and "The Black Babe Ruth," is universally recognized as one of the greatest hitters who ever lived.

Mr. Paige is regarded by many as a hard-throwing pitcher whom Joe DiMaggio once called the best and fastest pitcher he ever faced. Mr. Bell was one of the fastest players of his era, known for his sparkling outfield defense. And Mr. Posey was an exceptional athlete who played for, managed, and owned the Homestead Grays - and in 2016 he became the only man enshrined in both the professional baseball and basketball halls of fame.

"Of course, we can't recognize everybody, although we would love to," Sean Gibson said. "But we're going to recognize who we think were our prominent players, especially in the Pittsburgh area, because the players that we have have the Pittsburgh ties. …

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