MLB officially elevates Negro Leagues to ‘major league’ status

MLB will integrate statistics and records from seven professional Negro Leagues that operated from 1920-1948 and include approximately 3,400 players as part of its history.

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Negro League baseball legend Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe tags out Josh Gibson during an East-West Classic game at Comiskey Park during the 1940s. MLB has formally elevated the Negro Leagues to Major League status.

Negro League baseball legend Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe tags out Josh Gibson during an East-West Classic game at Comiskey Park during the 1940s. MLB has formally elevated the Negro Leagues to Major League status.

Courtesy Ted Radcliffe via AP

To culminate MLB’s centennial celebration of the Negro Leagues, Major League Baseball “is correcting a longtime oversight in the game’s history” and is recognizing themas a “Major League.”

“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 Commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement on Wednesday. “We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record.”

MLB will integrate statistics and records from seven professional Negro Leagues that operated from 1920-1948 and include approximately 3,400 players as part of its history.

Negro League stars such as Josh Gibson — who never played a single MLB game and is considered one of the best hitters baseball — Oscar Charleston and Cool Papa Bellare now officially Major Leaguers.

“The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is thrilled to see this well-deserved recognition of the Negro Leagues,”Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a statement.”In the minds of baseball fans worldwide, this serves as historical validation for those who had been shunned from the Major Leagues and had the foresight and courage to create their own league that helped change the game and our country too.This acknowledgement is a meritorious nod to the courageous owners and players who helped build this exceptional enterprise and shines a welcomed spotlight on the immense talent that called the Negro Leagues home.”

Read more at usatoday.com

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