Leave a comment

An opera about Negro Leagues superstar baseball player Josh Gibson is slated to premiere April 29 in Pittsburgh, the Washington Post reports.

Pittsburgh Opera’s general director, Christopher Hahn, understands why the opera, “The Summer King,” about a baseball player raises eyebrows. But he told the Associated Press that opera is an effective genre to share Gibson’s story because it  allow people “to sing about emotions and aspirations and fears.”

Often compared to New York Yankee’s slugger Babe Ruth, Gibson was one of the first three Negro Leagues players inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Gibson, who led the Black league in home runs three times, played for two Pittsburgh teams.

Daniel Sonenberg, who composed the opera, told the AP that Gibson is “the story that came before Jackie Robinson.” Gibson was the second-highest paid player in the Black league, behind pitcher Satchel Paige, and one of the biggest attractions for White major league team owners who wanted to integrate baseball.

“It was Josh who demonstrated it was competitive suicide not to integrate,” Sonenberg explained to the AP.

“Fences,” the recent film starring Denzel Washington, touched on Gibson’s life. The opera will tell the full story, said the hall of famer’s great-grandson, Sean Gibson.

Tragically, Gibson died at age 35, likely from a brain aneurysm, just months before Robinson integrated Major League Baseball in 1947.

Sean Gibson told the AP that his great-grandfather is well-known for his amazing baseball skills. “But behind the uniform was a great man who lived through tragedy outside of dealing with racism and playing baseball: His wife died giving birth to their twins,” he stated.

SOURCE:  Washington Post, Associated Press

SEE ALSO:

Philadelphia Apologizes To Late Jackie Robinson For 1947 Racism

Parents Of Jackie Robinson West Players Sue Little League, Stephen A. Smith For Bashing Team

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s