George Gibson was known for being a defensive catcher. He was known for his ability to develop and handle pitchers. He was not known for being a home run hitter.
In his brief minor league career, there was some thought that he might be able to be a very successful major league batter. But it didn't pan out. In 1905 and 1906 he batted an identical, and unflattering, .178. In his next 10 seasons in Pittsburgh, Gibson would remain north of .200, but in his first season in New York, in 1917, he batted only .171. He'd end his career with a .236 average for his 16 seasons. Gibson clearly remained in the league for is other skills.
But back to home runs.
I was perusing Baseball-Reference recently (I spend more time on that site that I am willing to admit), and while there was reminded of the homer log.
I thought it might be interesting to look at some of Gibson's homers.
I won't talk about all of them, but here are some things that stood out to me:
According to the homer log, Gibson's first career homer came off of none other than Christy Mathewson. It was inside the park homer at the Polo Grounds on July 18, 1905. That's not even 3 weeks into Gibson's big league career; 4 days before his 25th birthday.
His next one came just about a month later, August 24, 1905. This time, it left the yard, and the victim was future teammate Vic Willis.
Gibson went homerless for all of 1906, and then hit 3 inside-the-park in 1907 within about six weeks: May 2nd, June 6th and June 10th. Gibson also hit 3 home runs in 1910, after hitting 2 in each of 1908 and 1909.
In 1913, Gibson hit his 13th career home run off of Rube Marquard.
George hit one other home run in 1913, and then his last career home run on August 19, 1915.
When it was all said and done, Gibson his 15 career home runs off of 15 different pitchers.
Seven of the fifteen were of the inside-the-park variety.
Six of the eight that left the park were hit in Boston.
Only one was hit at home (at Forbes, in 1909).
And maybe the most fun, is that 3 of the 15 home runs were hit off of pitchers that would eventually join the ranks of the hall of fame. In other words, 20% of Gibson's career home runs were off of hall-of-fame pitchers.
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