Baseball History Rewrite: MLB Recognizes Negro League Legends — See New Record Holders!

NEW YORK, NY – Major League Baseball (MLB) has made a historic decision by incorporating the statistics of former Negro Leagues players into its official historical records. This move has resulted in legendary players like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb being replaced by Negro League players in various record categories.

One notable figure, Josh Gibson, known as one of the greatest sluggers in Negro Leagues history, has now been recognized as MLB’s all-time career leader in batting average at .372, surpassing Ty Cobb’s .367. Additionally, Gibson has overtaken Babe Ruth in career slugging percentage.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed pride in this decision, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the players of the Negro Leagues and ensuring that their accomplishments are preserved for future generations. The inclusion of Negro Leagues statistics will serve as a gateway to learning about the history of African American players in baseball, particularly leading up to Jackie Robinson’s groundbreaking debut in 1947.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Josh Gibson in 1972, honoring his remarkable career as a power-hitting catcher. While Gibson’s Baseball Hall of Fame plaque highlights his impressive home run record, it is noted that many of these homers were achieved in exhibitions rather than league-sanctioned games.

Negro League Museum president Bob Kendrick praised the efforts of historians and researchers who played a key role in recognizing the accomplishments of Negro Leagues players. The decision to incorporate Negro Leagues statistics into MLB records comes after several years of advocacy and research, marking a significant milestone in baseball history.

This move by MLB follows its acknowledgment of the Negro Leagues as equivalent to major league status in 2020, which prompted a thorough review of how this recognition would impact the league’s record books. By recognizing the thousands of Black players who competed in the Negro Leagues from 1920 to the late 1940s, MLB aims to pay tribute to their contributions to the sport.

Scott Simkus, a researcher involved in compiling the Seamheads Negro Leagues Database, emphasized the importance of considering Negro Leagues players as major league caliber ballplayers, equal to those in the National and American Leagues of the same era. The elevation of Negro Leagues status by MLB is seen as a long-overdue correction of historical oversight.

Larry Lester, co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, lamented the fact that the rich history of the Negro Leagues had been previously overlooked, emphasizing the significance of this recognition. The acknowledgment of the Negro Leagues’ impact on baseball serves as a validation for the players who were once excluded from major league opportunities.

In conclusion, the integration of Negro Leagues statistics into MLB records represents a significant step towards honoring the legacy of Black baseball players and recognizing their contributions to the sport. This decision not only corrects past oversights but also highlights the resilience and talent of the players who overcame racial barriers to pursue their passion for baseball.