Negro Leagues Stats Officially in MLB Record Books Reshapes Greatest Athletes Rankings

San Francisco, California – Major League Baseball is set to make history this week as it incorporates Negro Leagues statistics into its official historical record on Wednesday. This move, initially reported by a prominent sports journalist, comes after MLB’s decision three and a half years ago to elevate the Negro Leagues to major-league status. By including these statistics, the complete narrative of America’s baseball history will now be accurately reflected through the numbers.

One significant impact of this integration is the shifting of certain records previously held by players like Barry Bonds. With the inclusion of Negro Leagues statistics, Hall of Fame catcher Josh Gibson now owns records such as the single-season slugging percentage mark and the single-season OPS record, which were previously attributed to Bonds. Gibson, who spent his career in the Negro Leagues, will now hold various MLB records, solidifying his place as one of the greatest players to have ever played the game.

The significance of this move extends beyond individual records, as it also serves to honor the legacy of the 2,300 men who played in the Negro Leagues and did not have the opportunity to showcase their talent in the Major Leagues. This recognition is a meaningful step towards ensuring their contributions are not overlooked in baseball history. The impact of this integration can be seen in players like Willie Mays, whose career hits have now been adjusted to include his Negro Leagues season with the Birmingham Black Barons.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred emphasized the importance of including Negro Leagues players in the official historical record, highlighting the milestone as a way to educate future generations about this significant chapter in American history. By acknowledging and celebrating the accomplishments of Negro Leagues players, the baseball community aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the sport’s evolution and the barriers that were overcome, leading up to Jackie Robinson’s groundbreaking debut with the Dodgers in 1947.

Overall, the incorporation of Negro Leagues statistics into MLB’s historical record marks a pivotal moment in the sport’s history, ensuring that the contributions of all players, regardless of race, are recognized and celebrated. This step forward underscores the richness and diversity of baseball’s past while honoring the resilience and talent of those who paved the way for future generations of athletes.