Major League Baseball’s Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. has announced that Major League Baseball is officially elevating the Negro Leagues to “Major League” status.
In a written statement, the commissioner said, “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. We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record.”
All statistics and records of these Black players will become a part of Major League Baseball’s history.
The seven leagues that comprised the Negro Leagues of 1920-1948 were the Negro National League (I) (1920–1931); the Eastern Colored League (1923–1928); the American Negro League (1929); the East-West League (1932); the Negro Southern League (1932); the Negro National League (II) (1933–1948); and the Negro American League (1937–1948).
Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO, said, “The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is thrilled to see this well-deserved recognition of the Negro Leagues. 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 acknowledgment 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.”
Approximately 3,400 players of the Negro Leagues will now be considered Major Leaguers. Major League Baseball and the Elias Sports Bureau have started a process to determine the ramifications on statistics and records. The two organizations will seek input from experts, including historians, “to evaluate the relevant issues and reach conclusions upon the completion of that process.”