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Negro Leagues statistics to be officially integrated into MLB historical record

May 28th, 2024

Telling the story of baseball without the Negro Leagues would paint an incomplete and narrow picture of America’a pastime. Baseball’s history is finally getting a revision.

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

The 2,300 players who played in the 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 give the Negro Leagues major-league status.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale first reported the news.

“We are proud that the official historical record now includes the players of the Negro Leagues,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “This initiative is focused on ensuring that 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 broader learning about this triumph in American history and the path that led to Jackie Robinson’s 1947 Dodger debut.”

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

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

“We looked for historians, statisticians, and stakeholders who all could be expected to have concern that MLB would get the process and the product right,” John Thorn, Official MLB Historian and chairman of the Negro Leagues Statistical Review Committee, told Yahoo Sports this week. “We were not looking for ‘like minds’ but instead potentially contentious ones.”

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

Former Negro Leagues players who played in the major leagues, including Willie Mays, Minnie Miñoso, Larry Doby, Jackie Robinson and numerous others will also have their Negro Leagues statistics integrated and updated. The statistics will continue to be reviewed and updated as more data and information is uncovered.

In accordance with the rules set by the SBRC in 1969 that states, “For all-time single-season records, there will be no asterisks or official signs shall be used to indicate the number of games scheduled.” New Negro Leagues record holders and additions on MLB leaderboards will not include an asterisk.

MLB will pay tribute to the Negro Leagues on June 20 in a regular-season matchup between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Rickwood Field, which was the home of the Birmingham Black Barons, is considered the oldest professional ballpark in the U.S.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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