Negro Leagues statistics should be officially integrated into the MLB historical record

Telling the story of baseball without the Negro Leagues paints an incomplete and narrow picture of America’s pastime. Baseball history is finally getting its fix.

The Negro League statistics will officially become part of Major League history on Wednesday. The move comes more than three years after Major League Baseball announced it would elevate the Negro Leagues to major-league status.

2,300 players who played in seven iterations of the Negro Leagues from 1920-1948 will be integrated into MLB’s database. The Special Baseball Records Committee of 1969 did not grant major-league status to the Negro Leagues.

USA Today’s Bob Nightingale He announced the news first.

“We are proud to now include Negro Leagues players in the official historic record,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “This effort is focused on ensuring future generations of fans have access to the statistics and milestones of all those who made the Negro Leagues possible. Their accomplishments on the field will be a gateway to greater learning in American history about this victory and the path that led to Jackie Robinson’s 1947 Dodger debut.

Josh Gibson walks home after being tagged out by catcher Ted Radcliffe during the Negro Leagues' East-West All-Star Game on August 13, 1944 at Comiskey Park in Chicago.  (Getty Images)

The Negro Leagues Statistical Study Group, comprised of baseball historians, Negro League experts, former players, researchers and journalists, reviewed data, box scores, statistics and additional information found by Seamheads, RetroSheet and the Elias Sports Bureau.

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“We sought out historians, statisticians and stakeholders who expected the MLB process and product to be correct,” John Thorne, official MLB historian and chairman of the Negro Leagues Statistical Review Committee, told Yahoo Sports. week. “We’re not looking for ‘like minds’, but controversialists.”

Negro Leagues legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Josh Gibson would become MLB’s single-season record holder in batting average (.466 in 1943), slugging percentage (.974 in 1937) and OPS (1.474 in 1937). Playing for the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Homestead Grays, Gibson became MLB’s career leader in all three divisions. Both previous records for slugging and OPS in a season and career were held by Barry Bonds.

Former Negro League players who played in the major leagues, including Willie Mays, Minnie Minoso, Larry Tobey, Jackie Robinson, and others, will have their Negro League statistics compiled and updated. Statistics are regularly reviewed and updated as more data and information emerges.

According to rules set by the SBRC in 1969, “For all-time single-season records, no asterisks or official symbols shall be used to indicate the number of games scheduled.” New Negro League record holders and additions on MLB leaderboards will not have an asterisk.

MLB will pay tribute to the Negro Leagues on June 20 during the regular-season game between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Rickwood Field, home of the Birmingham Black Barons, is considered America’s oldest professional ballpark.

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