Saturday, June 15, 2019

Russ Gibson (#297)

Russ Gibson was the Red Sox' starting catcher for 1968-69, basically keeping the gear warm until the arrival of Carlton Fisk.

Russ was signed by the Red Sox in 1957. After ten seasons in the minors, he finally made his major-league debut (at age 27) in 1967, starting 13 of the team's first 17 games. He soon settled in as the Sox' #3 catcher, only making 37 starts behind Mike Ryan (74 starts) and the Bob Tillman / Elston Howard tandem (51 starts).

After the off-season trade of Ryan to the Phillies, Gibson shared the #1 catcher job with Howard, who was in his final season. Each started 60+ games, with Russ Nixon picking up the scraps at #3.

Gibson rose to the top of the pile in 1969, his last season with Boston. He started 78 games (mostly in the first half). The Red Sox were also working rookie Jerry Moses into the lineup, along with Tom Satriano, who was acquired from the Angels in mid-June.

Three days before the 1970 season he was purchased by the Giants, and spent the next 2 years as a little-used backup to Dick Dietz. In 1972 the Giants used rookie Dave Rader behind the plate. Gibson only played 4 games in May and one in September for the Giants, spending much of the '72 season in triple-A.

He passed away in 2008 at age 69.

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