Negro League accomplishments ‘are real,’ says Rangers manager Bruce Bochy

MLB records changed overnight when the league decided that stats from the Negro Leagues would be counted alongside their MLB counterparts as a part of a three-year project.

As a result, Ty Cobb was dethroned as the MLB leader in batting average, with Josh Gibson now reigning supreme with his .372 career mark. Gibson also now ranks No. 1 in MLB history in slugging percentage (.718) and OPS (1.177) passing Babe Ruth.

Calvert native Rube Foster, who started his professional career with the Fort Worth Yellow Jackets, is another Negro League icon whose stats will now stand alongside MLB legends. One of the great pitchers and managers of the early 1900s, Foster’s record as a pitcher was 50-18 with a 2.25 ERA including 44 wins on the mound in a row, as manager he was 740-420.

However, Foster’s most impressive accolades might’ve come off the field as he was instrumental in founding the Negro National League which combined teams from around the country and was one of if not the most successful Black baseball league in American history.

Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy spoke about why these additions mattered.

“It is part of baseball history. So I think that’s why it is important you look at great players over in the Negro Leagues it’s a shame that, you know, they weren’t able to have those numbers in the major leagues, but they’re real, the numbers are real or something for them to be part of it. I think definitely the right thing to do,” said Bochy.

Bochy spoke about enjoying visiting The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and how much the game of baseball benefitted from allowing the game’s best to play regardless of race.

”I look back at how much better our game is because the best players are playing in major leagues now. Unfortunately, for so many great players that wasn’t available,” said Bochy.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred explained to the Associated Press what prompted the changes from the league’s perspective.

“It’s a show of respect for great players who performed in the Negro Leagues due to circumstances beyond their control and once those circumstances changed demonstrated that they were truly major leaguers,” said Manfred, “Maybe the single biggest factor was the success of players who played in the Negro Leagues and then came to the big leagues.”