From Bat to Baton: Josh Gibson, the Pittsburgh Opera, and The Summer King

By David Krell

This article was published in the 2018 The National Pastime.

Josh Gibson was one of the best players never to play in the major leagues. At 35 years old, Gibson passed away from a brain tumor three months before Jackie Robinson broke the color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers. But Gibson’s life was more than bashing nearly 800 home runs. While Gibson’s life is celebrated and his death mourned, there has been a dearth of Gibson stories. That paradigm changed in 2017 with the opera The Summer King. Josh Gibson was . . .

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