It’s been quite a stretch for the great Josh Gibson!
Backing up to last December, MLB announced that it would regard seven different Negro Leagues as Major Leagues, counting their records and statistics just as they would the National or American League. Some early attention went to the ways Josh’s legacy might be diminished, specifically that the bulk of his 800+ home runs at various levels of competition would be replaced by a more pedestrian 200 or so, accumulated only during official League games. Perhaps if the story ended there, the announcement might not have been a win for Josh. Perhaps it would have reduced the game’s most mythical slugger to a Buddy Bell or Benito Santiago.
But then some other numbers, not necessarily final but believed to be pretty close, came out.
- Highest slugging average ever in a single season? It might just be Josh!
- Highest batting average ever in a single season? It might just be Josh!
- Top 10 seasons ever for OPS? Josh may have a few.
- Highest career batting and slugging averages? Josh again, at or near the top of the lists!
And one month before the MLB announcement, Bob Nightengale of USA Today made quite a pitch for Josh’s name to replace that of former commissioner Landis on baseball’s MVP trophies.
Over in Homestead, Pennsylvania, where Josh caught for the Grays, the Voodoo Brewery commissioned a Josh Gibson mural from artist Jeremy Raymer, set to be finished on May 21.
A bit later in the summer we will also see special Josh Gibson nights or Homestead Grays throwbacks at various Minor and Major League Ballparks around the country.
On top of all that, a Josh Gibson MVP card is about to hit Topps Project 70 on May 24, courtesy of artist Eric Friedensohn, better known as Efdot! Readers of Apple News even got a sneak peak!
But what about right here on the internet, you ask!
How about the largest #CardArt tournament ever, all in support of the Josh Gibson MVP campaign, also known as #JG20MVP. With the blessing of the Josh Gibson Foundation, more than 60 baseball card artists from the Negro Leagues Baseball Marketplace (nlbmart) will be creating cards of Josh Gibson that will double as entries in a nine-week tournament, with cards advancing based on social media engagement (likes, retweets), fan voting, and–once we reach the Final Four–the votes of our celebrity panel.
The tournament kicked off Monday with an outstanding card from co-organizer Mr. Shake–
Not to be outdone, Patrick from Cheaha Cardworks offered this beauty, evocative of another Home Run King’s rookie card.
The next day Andy from @MillburgCards will dropped this gem with one of the classic Josh Gibson quotes–
My own card batted fourth, and I went way out of my comfort zone to write a poem in Josh’s honor.
And finally, the Hobby’s ultimate “RAD DUDE” Todd aka Lunchmade wrapped up the week with this stunner.
One week down, eight weeks to go!
While I suspect nearly every artist in the #JG20MVP Card Art tournament would savor the bragging rights (and Josh Gibson Foundation prize package) that come with a victory, we have already agreed that we’re all teammates rather than competitors. We’re all part of #TeamJosh and we all win if Josh wins.
If you’d like to be part of this “Summer of Josh,” there are many ways you can get involved–
- Follow the Josh Gibson Foundation (@joshgibson_1911 on Twitter, @joshgibsonfoundation on Instagram)
- Follow the Negro League Baseball Marketplace (@nlbmart)
- Sign the #JG20MVP petition!
- Pick up your very own Josh Gibson MVP tee shirt!
- And support the Card Art tourney by Liking and Retweeting your favorite cards. And if you’re a Card Artist wondering how you missed the call, get in touch. We can find you a slot.