MLB Grants Negro Leagues “Major League” Status

Stats that were compiled by roughly 3,400 players will be added into MLB’s books

MLB Grants Negro Leagues "Major League" Status
Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, Ted Paige and Judy Johnson in a group photo during a Negro League baseball game.
Getty Images

After being discussed over the summer, Major League Baseball has officially righted a wrong that was made by a prejudiced committee decades ago and recognized the Negro Leagues as a major league.

That means all the statistics that were compiled by roughly 3,400 players like Monte Irvin, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson — whether they eventually played in the majors or not — will be added into MLB’s books.

Previously, when the Special Committee on Baseball Records identified six official “major leagues” back in 1969, the Negro Leagues were excluded.

“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,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. “We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record.”

Seven professional Negro Leagues operated from 1920-1948.

“The perceived deficiencies of the Negro Leagues’ structure and scheduling were born of MLB’s exclusionary practices, and denying them major league status has been a double penalty, much like that exacted of Hall of Fame candidates prior to Satchel Paige’s induction in 1971,” said baseball historian John Thorn. “Granting MLB status to the Negro Leagues a century after their founding is profoundly gratifying.”

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