Sports | June 15, 2021 1:56 pm

Baseball Reference Adds Negro Leagues Stats Into Database

The statistics will live side-by-side with those from the American and National Leagues

Pro baseball players Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson of the Negro Leagues
Satchel Paige of the Monarchs talks with Josh Gibson of the Homestead Grays in 1941.
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty

Following Major League Baseball’s December decision to add the Negro Leagues into its official list of majors and grant about 3,400 players major-league status, Baseball Reference has added Negro League statistics into its database to live side-by-side with stats from the American and National Leagues.

“We are not bestowing a new status on these players or their accomplishments. The Negro Leagues have always been major leagues. We are changing our site’s presentation to properly recognize this fact. In keeping with our mission and values at Sports Reference, when it comes to this endeavor, our intent is to celebrate the players, teams, and leagues we are adding to our site, as well as to educate our users about the history of these leagues,” per Baseball Reference. “The Negro Leagues are not less than the National and American Leagues. They are different, and we recognize that our work must acknowledge those differences.”

Seven professional Negro Leagues — the Negro American League, Negro National League II, East-West League, Negro Southern League, Negro National League I, American Negro League and Eastern Colored League — operated from 1920-1948. Now the stats compiled by players in those leagues like Monte Irvin, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson will be just as easy to find as the statistics of players like Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr.

“All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations and triumphs against a backdrop of injustice,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in December. “We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record.”

In addition to adding in the statistics, Baseball Reference has commissioned articles from Negro League historians, family members of Black baseball players and other authors who have the ability to explain the context and history of Black baseball.

“We express our respect to the thousands of men and women who were involved in the Negro Leagues, with heartfelt acknowledgment to the very few who are still alive,” per Baseball Reference. “Likewise, we express our respect to their descendants who keep the stories of their forebears alive — their struggles and also their accomplishments, not only on the field, but also off the field.”