MLB to Integrate the Negro Leagues to ‘Major League’ Status

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Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced on Wednesday that his organization will be “correcting a longtime oversight in the game’s history” by incorporating the Negro Leagues’ statistics and records into the Major League official archive.  

“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,” Manfred said. “We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record.”

The Negro Leagues were formed by seven leagues, involved 3,400 players, and played from 1920-1948. The new recognition comes during the centennial celebration of the founding of the Negro Leagues. In August, MLB commemorated the 100th anniversary with uniform decals that symbolized the contribution and legacy of the Negro Leagues. 

“The perceived deficiencies of the Negro Leagues’ structure and scheduling were born of MLB’s exclusionary practices, and denying them Major League status has been a double penalty, much like that exacted of Hall of Fame candidates prior to Satchel Paige’s induction in 1971,” John Thorn, the Official Historian of Major League Baseball, said in a statement. “Granting MLB status to the Negro Leagues a century after their founding is profoundly gratifying.”