Roswell was home to a baseball team from the black baseball league known as the Josh Gibson League.
Play Ball! Josh Gibson Baseball League in Roswell, Georgia. #31 is Larry Strickland.
Best Power Hitter and Catcher in the History of any League
Josh Gibson was a Georgia born, professional baseball player in the National Negro Baseball League from 1939 to 1946. Some fans called Gibson the "black Babe Ruth". Other fans called Babe Ruth, "the white Josh Gibson".
Josh Gibson was never able to play in the major leagues. An unwritten "gentleman's agreement" prevented non-white players from participating.
Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame
Gibson became the second player from the black leagues to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Second to Satchel Paige who was inducted a year earlier. "Even though Jackie Robinson became the first black player in modern major league history in April 1947, Larry Doby, who broke the American League color barrier that July, felt that Gibson was the best black player in 1945, and 1946. Doby said in an interview later, "One of the things that was disappointing and disheartening to a lot of the black players at the time was that Jack was not the best player. The best was Josh Gibson. I think that's one of the reasons why Josh died so early – he was heartbroken."". Read more about Josh Gibson here.
Three Men Organize a Local, Semi-Pro League
In 1958, three area men, Alonzo Allen, Estee Strickland and Charles Grogan organized the local league. Grogan organized the local league. Grogan served as the President of the Josh Gibson Baseball League that operated out of eight cities in Georgia. It was considered a semi-pro league. The local team was named the Roswell Flames, later known as the Southern Flames.
Roswell Field's Tournament Games and Miss Baseball
Scouts from the major league teams were known to come to the games, especially during tournament games. Players were in their teens and older. Fundraisers were held to pay for the player's uniforms and equipment. Games were held on the baseball field on Woodstock Road. Women of the community sold food at the concession stands to provide financial support for the teams. It was common for everyone to come after church, since the games were played on Sundays.
Each year the league voted for a Miss Baseball to be recognized at the tournament. Pictured to the right is Miss Virginia Manning Paterson receiving the trophy from Charles Grogan in 1961.
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