Sports | August 14, 2020 10:09 am

MLB May Add Negro Leagues to Its Official History

The Negro Leagues are still excluded from MLB's official list of major leagues

MLB May Add Negro Leagues to Its Official History
The Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues pose for a team portrait in 1948. (Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty)
Getty Images

Major League Baseball is considering righting a wrong related to the Negro Leagues that was made by a prejudiced committee more than 50 years ago.

As it currently stands, according to MLB’s records and classifications, the Black players who played in the Negro Leagues — seven segregation-era circuits formed during the 1920s and 1930s — were not major leaguers.

Now, as MLB celebrates the centennial of the founding of the Negro National League on diamonds across baseball this weekend, the league is starting to consider elevating the Negro Leagues to the major league level, according to The Ringer.

“We will continue to honor the Negro Leagues beyond this year’s leaguewide celebration of the centennial season,” an MLB spokesperson told the publication. “This process is well under way. We look forward to future efforts to commemorate this vital chapter in our game’s history and to teach our next generation of fans about the significance of the Negro Leagues.”

In addition to the National League and the American League, MLB currently recognizes the American Association (1882-1891), Union Association (1884), Players’ League (1890), and Federal League (1914-1915) as major leagues.

Since the way the game was played (often in the same stadiums as MLB teams) and Negro Leaguers’ skill levels were so similar to MLB’s, it really doesn’t make sense to continue to deny the league top status for any other reason than prejudice.

“The only difference was the color of their skin,” said Negro Leagues historian Larry Lester. “I just don’t see where there is an issue. I don’t see where there should be a debate … We have to keep evolving and learning, and this is a good time to recognize the great contributions of these Black ballplayers during apartheid baseball.”

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