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  • Josh Gibson vs Oscar Charleston

    OK, who was the greater player? Who would have been the greater major leaguer? Who was considered the greater player while active?
    43
    Josh Gibson
    46.51%
    20
    Oscar Charleston
    53.49%
    23
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    I think that barring injury, Charleston would likely have ended up being just after Cobb, Mays, Speaker...right in there with Mantle, DiMaggio, etc. With his offense, Gibby more than likely would have been a better offensive version of Piazza, and probably defensively too in his younger days. He had to be quicker, and not too difficult to have a better arm than Piazza. Comparing the two, it might come down to whether Gibson's offense and position can make up for Charleston's all around game

    Here's a pretty cool pic of Gibson.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Sultan_1895-1948; 03-22-2006, 02:34 AM.

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    • #3
      I have to vote for Oscar because I lean more toward career achievements than most, and Oscar had that long career that a catcher like Gibson wouldn't.

      Jim Albright
      Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
      Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
      A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

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      • #4
        as mr. albright stated, the lengthy career of charleston gives him the nod.

        the negro leagues baseball museum bestows its oscar charleston legacy award to the two most valuable players of the two major leagues.
        "you don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. just get people to stop reading them." -ray bradbury

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        • #5
          that's a sweet picture of gibson - i just made it the background on my computer - is that griffith stadium?

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          • #6
            I'll go with Charleston, too.
            Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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            • #7
              Gibson

              his played catcher for 16 years and had Ruthian offensive statistics

              Oscar was a great player, but when you have a catcher with the best offensive stats in baseball, thats still more valuable to me than a 5-tool outfielder

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              • #8
                Originally posted by west coast orange and black
                as mr. albright stated, the lengthy career of charleston gives him the nod.

                the negro leagues baseball museum bestows its oscar charleston legacy award to the two most valuable players of the two major leagues.

                by that logic, then that would be saying Cy Young must've been better than Walter Johnson or any other pitcher up to the time where the CY Award was first given out

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                • #9
                  Actually, I'd characterize Gibson's stats as more similar to Jimmie Foxx. He's the greatest catcher ever in my view, and Charleston falls about halfway between Mays and Mantle in my book. As good as Gibson was, I'd rather have Charleston because he provided more value over time. At their peaks, I might go with Gibson for the reasons you state.

                  Jim Albright
                  Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                  Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
                  A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    --I tend to think of Gibson as Jimmie Foxx, if Foxx had stayed behind the plate and still managed to put up the same numbers. If that is accurate he may have been the best peak player ever. That said, Charleston did have the much longer career and was a much better defensive player, if at a less demanding position.
                    --Gibson actually was probably not any quicker than Piazza (although I'll grant the better arm). I've seen him described as being painfully slow. Ernie Lombardi was probably the contemporary player most similar, although Gibson hit for much more power.

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                    • #11
                      I've read before that for someone of Gibson's size (6'1, 205-215 pounds), he was an unusually fast runner in his prime

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                      • #12
                        Charleston vs. Gibson is a tough debate to win, because each has their merits. Charleston was the total package, no weakness whatsoever, the great average, power, fielding, running. No one in the Negro Leagues (and perhaps even the major leagues) can come close to matching his all around skills.

                        On the other hand you have this behemoth catcher who just hits blasts. Tremendous power to all fields, and as good a pure hitter as there ever was. Josh was probably about equal to Foxx as a hitter, but the big thing that puts him over Foxx is the fact that he was a catcher.

                        So, who was better? The answer to me is quite clear, Oscar was better.

                        The way I rate Negro League players, as I've said, is try to form a stat line based on their tools. Oscar, I think, could be much closer to Gibson in the majors than those above stats show.

                        The reason for this is simple-the Negro Leagues were unorganized, they were almost pickup like in nature. In that atmosphere, gruelingness on players is kept to a minimum. The position of catcher, I am quite sure, wasn't nearly as grueling in the Negro Leagues as it was in the majors, because of the less disciplined atmosphere.

                        That is also apparent by the hitting of other Negro League catchers. To be honest, the hitting of the top level catchers (Gibson, Mackey, Santop, Trouppe, Greene) might just be better than any of the other hitters at the other positions. In the major leagues at that time, catcher was by far the worst hitting position, but in the Negro Leagues it magically transformed into the best? Something is wrong there. I think the grueling atmosphere of catching in the majors would have suppressed Gibson's hitting.

                        The other factor is running speed. By most accounts, despite his offensive skills, Gibson was about as slow a player as you'd ever come across. I've heard he used to hold up others on the bases and would never take an extra base.

                        Oscar, on the other hand, was probably the fastest player in the Negro Leagues in his younger years and was certainly one of the best basestealers of his time, His baserunning was considered to be Ty Cobb-esque. That's much from how Gibson was running. I normally don't think baserunning is worth much, but from what I understand Gibson consistently cost his teams a few bases a game, whereas Oscar gained extra bases on the paths constantly.

                        Not that Gibson wasn't a tremendous talent-he certainly was. But, his talent was almost all in hitting. He also had a very good throwing arm, from what I understand he was decent at throwing out runners. But, he was also very slow behind the plate and not really much of an athlete.

                        I'm still very confident Gibson in the majors would have been the best hitting catcher the game has ever seen, better than even Piazza by a wide margin.

                        One more reason before I shut up, I've heard countless people (John McGraw, Buck O'Neil, Jocko Conlon, and Dave Malarcher, just to name a few) call Charleston the greatest player ever, but I honestly have never heard anyone call Gibson the greatest player ever.

                        Lots of people considered Oscar the best player ever, no one who I know of did for Gibson. Among Negro League experts, Oscar is the consensus #1 player out of the league. Gibson is considered by most to be #2, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who calls him #1. The fact is, Oscar is considered better by almost all the people who saw both. With the limits of the statistical data we have on both of them, that has to count for a real lot.

                        Oscar also kept himself a great player for much longer. Gibson's period of dominance was short.

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                        • #13
                          Nice post, Chris. Like it a lot. Did you know that because of his agression on the basepaths, Oscar was called the Black Ty Cobb? And because of his distance shots, Oscar was called the Black Babe Ruth? And because he played so in close to the infield, he was called the Black Tris Speaker?

                          That's a lot of calling! The big reason we are awed by Josh Gibson is because he was a catcher. And that is a very big deal.

                          Bill Burgess

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 538280
                            Charleston vs. Gibson is a tough debate to win, because each has their merits. Charleston was the total package, no weakness whatsoever, the great average, power, fielding, running. No one in the Negro Leagues (and perhaps even the major leagues) can come close to matching his all around skills.
                            Buck O'neil said Gibson was the best player, as did Roy Campanella.

                            who the hell told you he was "slow behind the plate"? All accounts would state the exact opposite.

                            and Gibson was said to be a fast baserunner up until his 30s when he put on wieght (sounds like Ruth haha)

                            Gibson stats:

                            1930 .261 for Homestead; c (1 hr, according to Holway)
                            1931 .308 for Homestead; 14 hr (2nd), 30 hr/550 (2nd), 15 2b (2nd), 7 3b (2nd); c, all-star
                            1932 .303 for Pgh; 10 hr (1st), 19 hr/550 (3rd), 16 2b (2nd), 6 3b (3rd); c, all-star
                            1933 .352 for Pgh; 23 hr (1st), 38 hr/550 (3rd), 18 2b (2nd), 10 3b (3rd); c all-star
                            1934 .295 for Pgh; 16 hr (1st), 29 hr/550 (3rd), 15 2b (1st), 4 3b (4th); c
                            1935 .355 for Pgh; 16 hr (1st), 40 hr/550 (2nd); c, all-star
                            1936 .327 for Pgh; 14 hr (3rd), 72 hr/550 (1st); c, all-star
                            1937 .462 for Homestead (1st); 21 hr (1st), 67 hr/550 (2nd), 5 3b (1st); c, all-star, MVP
                            1938 .358 for Homestead; 8 hr (2nd), 28 hr/550 (5th), 2 3b (1st); c, all-star
                            1939 .341 for Homestead; 17 hr (1st), 105 hr/550 (1st), 2 3b (3rd); c, all-star, MVP
                            1940 .167 for Homestead, part-season only
                            1940 In Mexico, 43-92, .467, 11 hr (2nd), 65 hr/550 (1st)
                            1941 In Mexico, 134-368, .374 (2nd); 33 hr (1st), 49 hr/550 (1st)
                            1942 .347 for Homestead (4th); 14 hr (1st), 49 hr/550 (1st), 8 2b (4th), 3 sb (3rd); c, all-star, MVP
                            1943 .449 for Homestead (3rd); 22 hr (1st), 41 hr/550 (1st) 33 2b (1st), 8 3b (5th), c, all-star, MVP
                            1944 .365 for Homestead (4th); 17 hr (1st), 35 hr/550 (2nd); 8 2b (5th), 12 3b (1st); c, all-star MVP
                            1945 .323 for Homestead; 11 hr (1st); 60 hr/550 (1st), 4 3b (3rd); c, all-star
                            1946 .397 for Homestead; 17 hr (1st); 69 hr/550 (1st), 12 2b (1st), 4 3b (2nd); c, all-star MVP
                            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-25-2006, 09:13 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Here in Venezuela is still living and broadcasting by radio a very old sportwriter (Herman "Chiquitin" Ettedgui, 94 yeras old) who saw "Trucutru" Gibson playing in 1940 and 1941, and he knew him. Ettedgui was one of the main executives in the venezuelan basebeball of those times.
                              In a recent show he was speaking about that was Charleston who signed Gibson to play baseball after a ball hit by a young 15 years old catcher broke a window from the bus of the Crawfords. Charleston asked about the guy who broke it thinking it was intentionally because the baseball outfield fence was far from where the bus was parked . But was a ball hit by Gibson.
                              I don`t know if this story is true but sounds very nice.
                              You have to suffer a revolution to know what are you talking about.

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