MLB To Incorporate Negro Leagues Statistics Into Its Official Records

Baseball history has now changed forever, as Major League Baseball has officially incorporated Negro Leagues statistics into its record book.

An estimated 2,300 players who played in the Negro Leagues from 1920-1948 were integrated into MLB’s database as of Wednesday. To incorporate the stats, a review was conducted for the long project.

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Exhibition games (called barnstorming) were not counted. It’s estimated that the league had access to about 75% of of box scores from Negro League games during that timespan, per The Athletic.

Fabled catcher Josh Gibson is the big winner of the new statistics. He’s now the lifetime career batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS (on base plus slugging) leader, and holds the single season batting average record, among other stats.

The move comes 3½ years after MLB said it would consider the Negro Leagues as major leagues. The assorted Negro leagues were formed before MLB was integrated.

Several Black players who eventually played in the major leagues when the color line was broken also had their career statistics enhanced by the incorporation of Negro League statistics. Among them were Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Minnie Miñoso, and Satchel Paige.

All told, the Negro Leagues produced 37 eventual members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Robinson’s 1947 integration of MLB marked the beginning of the end for the Negro Leagues.

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