Franklin A. `Hoot' Gibson, 91, supervisor, sandlot ballplayer

August 10, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Franklin A. "Hoot" Gibson, a retired Martin-Marietta Corp. supervisor and sandlot baseball star, died of a stroke Sunday at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. The Aero Acres resident was 91.

Mr. Gibson was born in Baltimore and raised in the Colgate neighborhood.

He was a 1931 graduate of then-Patterson Park High School, where he had been a pitcher and first baseman.

Mr. Gibson's played sandlot baseball from 1930 to 1951 for Colgate, Cowenton, Chase and Becker's Dairy teams.

He went to work in 1939 as a drop hammer operator forging parts for airplanes at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. plant in Middle River.

He retired as an office supervisor in 1975.

"I worked the midnight-to-8 shift at Plant 2 in the Bengies area," Mr. Gibson told The Sun in 1975 for an article on his Middle River community near what is now Martin State Airport. "We built 5,000 B-26s there - the Marauder. ... There was a good feeling back then. I remember when they brought one of them back all shot full of holes but still flying, and lined us all up at the airfield to thank us."

Playing for the company's team, the Bombers, Mr. Gibson pitched a perfect game and also briefly served as its manager.

After hanging up his spikes in 1952, he was a Little League manager and guided the Middle River Boys Club to a championship.

He later played in the Maryland Oldtimers Baseball League until he was 70, family members said.

In 1980, Mr. Gibson was inducted into the Oldtimers Baseball Association Hall of Fame.

Since 1941, Mr. Gibson lived in the same home on Fuselage Avenue in Aero Acres, a community that had been built by Martin to house wartime workers.

Through the years, Mr. Gibson improved the hastily built home by paneling the walls and ceiling. He added a large living room and extra bathroom, covered the exterior with siding and placed the house on a concrete foundation.

Mr. Gibson was an avid bowler, hunter and fisherman. He was a longtime member of the Wilson Point Men's Club.

"With him, it was baseball first, last and always," said a son, Franklin A. Gibson Jr. of Parkville.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Connelly Funeral Home of Essex, 300 Mace Ave.

Surviving are his wife of 69 years, the former Anne Bresnick; two others sons, James F. Gibson of Carlisle, Pa., and Bruce M. Gibson of Middle River; a daughter, Carolyn Fonte of Middle River; 14 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Phyllis Cherry-Warner, died in 1999.

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