07 Apr

anniversary time

Sixty years ago, in the summer of 1962, Jake Gibbs made his debut for the New York Yankees. Known more for his football prowess at Ole Miss, the Grenada native was signed by the Yankees and converted into a catcher. He played 538 games in the big leagues, mainly as a backup, and batted .233. He retired after the 1971 season to become the Ole Miss coach. Gibbs’ big league anniversary is one of quite a few we should celebrate this year. To wit: 110 years ago, Meadville native Pat McGehee played in his one and only major league game. Pitching for Detroit, he gave up a hit and a walk and departed the contest. … Ninety years ago, Tomnolen’s Paul Gregory debuted with the Chicago White Sox. He would go on to greater fame as the coach at Mississippi State from 1954-74. Also debuting in 1932 was Skeeter Webb, a Meridian native who played 12 years in the majors. … Seventy years ago, Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell, a Leakesville native, made his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals. He won 90 games over nine seasons and later became a U.S. Congressman in North Carolina. (The nickname came from a community in Alabama where he had lived.) … Fifty years ago, former Laurel prep star Rod Gilbreath broke in with Atlanta, debuting on June 17, 1972, at the age of 19. He played seven years for the Braves. … Forty years ago, the inimitable Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, from Meridian by way of Jackson State, launched a 10-year MLB career during which he went 78-77. In the movie “Field of Dreams,” Boyd is the Boston pitcher in the scene at Fenway Park. … Thirty years ago, Jeff Branson of Waynesboro, Kevin Rogers of Cleveland, Scooter Tucker of Greenville and Pete Young from McComb broke in. … Twenty years ago, Marcus Thames of Louisville made his debut, famously homering off Randy Johnson in his first at-bat. Also making The Show that year was Nettleton’s Bill Hall, a pretty fair slugger in his own right. … Ten years ago, Fulton’s Brian Dozier got his first taste of the majors en route to a splendid career that included an All-Star Game nod, a Gold Glove and a World Series ring before ending too soon in 2020. Brandon’s Tyler Moore and Hattiesburg’s Robert Carson also debuted in 2012.

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