This Day in Black History: June 3, 1937

On June 3, 1937, catcher Josh Gibson of the Negro League’s Homestead Grays hit a ball 580 feet in Yankee Stadium.

On June 3, 1937, renowned catcher Josh Gibson of the Negro League’s Homestead Grays hit a ball 580 feet in Yankee Stadium.

The astounding hit would have eclipsed Mickey Mantle’s record 565-foot home run hit in Griffith Stadium in 1953 as the longest ever if Negro League records were included alongside those of National and American Leagues.

Considered among many baseball historians to be one of the top catchers and power hitters in the history of any league, Gibson has also been credited with knocking the only fair ball ever hit out of Yankee Stadium in 1934. 

Interestingly enough, the Pittsburgh-raised athlete's legendary career launched in 1930 when he came out of the stands at a Grays' game in July 1930 to replace the team’s injured catcher. He lived up to his reputation as a fearsome power hitter while serving as the Grays’ permanent catcher and cleanup hitter and quickly became the best power hitter in the Negro League and, arguably, of his generation. While his Hall of Fame plaque reads that he neared 800 home runs in his career, other historians have put the number as high as 900, according to 

Gibson died from a stroke in his home on Jan. 20, 1947, at the age of 35, three months before Jackie Robinson’s historic debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the integration of the major leagues.

BET Sports News - Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter. 

Get ready for the BET Experience, featuring Mary J. Blige, Maxwell, Jill Scott, A$AP Rocky, Rick Ross and many more. Click here for more details and info on how to purchase tickets.

(Photo: Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.