Tribute for Sweet Lou Johnson and Bob Gibson

With great sadness, we acknowledge the loss this week of two baseball greats. On Wednesday evening, Dodger great “Sweet Lou” Johnson, a hero of the Dodgers’ 1965 World Series championship, died at 86 years old. On Friday, two-time World Series champion Bob Gibson, died at 84 years old.

Sweet Lou Johnson was an iconic reflection of Dodgers history and a beloved friend of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Lou enjoyed a 17-season baseball career, including eight years in the majors. His home run in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series remains a source of tremendous pride for Dodgers fans who relished a season during which Lou also scored the only run for Sandy Koufax in Koufax’s perfect game a month prior.

Aside from his impact on the baseball field, Sweet Lou’s passionate storytelling around the history of the game will be sorely missed. On many occasions at Dodgers games and special events, Lou engaged generously with our JRF Scholars, board members, staff and other constituents – often recounting Jackie Robinson’s profound, inspirational impact on his career. He was gracious and infinitely kind.

When Sweet Lou entered a room, he ignited a positive spark that you could not ignore. We will treasure the moments spent with him and extend heartfelt condolences to Lou’s family. Thank you, Lou, for joyously preserving history for us. May you rest in eternal peace

Bob Gibson spent his entire 17-season career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Nine-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, and two-time World Series champion, Bob Gibson left an indelible mark in major league baseball. With two Cy Young Awards as well, he became only the second Black player to receive baseball’s highest pitching honor, after Don Newcombe.

Beyond his very impressive performance on the field, Bob advanced the Cardinal’s racial diversity and teamwork and served as a powerful voice during the Civil Rights Movement. Resonating with all of us at JRF, Gibson courageously used his platform to advocate for integrated player housing during the season and expanded the national conversation around equality.

Losing still another baseball giant this year is heartrending. We gain solace reflecting on the sacrifices Bob Gibson made to advance justice and inclusivity. May his family be consoled by his inspiring legacy.