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Negro Leagues folded into MLB records, notable Ohio Negro League players might be affected

The crop of players regarded as the greatest in baseball history might change drastically thanks to a recent shift in Major League Baseball's historical records.

As of Wednesday, statistics from the Negro Leagues – the U.S. baseball leagues established in 1920 when the sport was still segregated – will be officially incorporated into MLB's historical records. That means Hall of Fame catcher Josh Gibson as well as Ohio's standout Negro League players Neil Robinson, Oscar Charleston and many others will be heralded alongside the players considered the greatest in the sport.

The change also enhances the numbers produced by athletes who went on to play in MLB after their time in Ohio's Negro Leagues, like Satchel Paige, Sam Jones and Sam Jethroe.

MLB wasn’t integrated until 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers, after which the Negro Leagues were largely phased out.

Brooklyn Dodgers' Jackie Robinson steals home plate during the fifth inning of a Boston-Brooklyn game at Ebbets Field in New York, on Aug. 22, 1948.
Brooklyn Dodgers' Jackie Robinson steals home plate during the fifth inning of a Boston-Brooklyn game at Ebbets Field in New York, on Aug. 22, 1948.

In December 2020, MLB officially elevated Negro Leagues' statistics to 'Major League' status, recognizing seven professional Negro Leagues operating from 1920-1948 and approximately 3,400 players.

But now, for the first time, the Negro League stats from that period will be incorporated into the official MLB stats.

From the 1920s onward, Ohio hosted many Negro Leagues across its major cities, including the Cincinnati Tigers, the Cleveland Buckeyes and the Dayton Marcos. Here are some notable players behind these teams, including those who went on to join MLB teams.

Did we leave anyone off our list? Let us know at gtucker@gannett.com or jrossi@gannett.com.

Ohio's notable Negro League, MLB players

Names in bold went on to play in one or more MLB teams.

Cincinnati Tigers (1934-1937)

  • Marlin "Pee Wee" Carter, infielder (1935-1937)

  • Lloyd "Ducky" Davenport, outfielder (1937)

  • William "Dizzy" Dismukes, pitcher and manager (1934)

  • Carl "Butch" Glass, pitcher (1936)

  • Joe Lillard, pitcher (1937)

  • Porter Moss, submarine style pitcher (1934-1937)

  • Roy Partlow, pitcher (1934, 1937)

  • Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, pitcher, catcher and manager (1937)

  • Neil Robinson, center fielder (1935-1937)

Text: Handout photo of, the Negro League baseball players, The Cincinnati Tiger of the 1960's For a John Erardi story, second from the right is Ron " Bunny" Warren scanned 6/23/99
Text: Handout photo of, the Negro League baseball players, The Cincinnati Tiger of the 1960's For a John Erardi story, second from the right is Ron " Bunny" Warren scanned 6/23/99

Cincinnati Clowns (1942-1945), later named Indianapolis Clowns (1946-1955)

  • Hank "Hammer" Aaron, right fielder (1951); played for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers

  • Albert "Buster" Haywood, catcher and manager (1943-1953)

  • Dave Hoskins, pitcher (1942), played for Cleveland in MLB

  • Joe Lillard, pitcher (1944)

Cleveland Buckeyes (1942-1950)

  • Alfred Allen "Buddy" Armour, outfielder (1944-1946)

  • Chet Brewer, pitcher (1942-1943, 1946-1948)

  • George "Chippy" Britt, every position (1943-1944)

  • Joe "Rabbit" Caffie, outfielder (1950); played for Cleveland in MLB

  • Vibert Ernesto "Webbo" Clarke, pitcher (1946-1948); played for the Washington Senators

  • Lloyd "Ducky" Davenport, outfielder (1944-1945)

  • Sam "the Jet" Jethroe, center fielder (1942-1948); played for the Boston Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates.

  • Sam "Toothpick" Jones, pitcher (1947-1948); played for Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles in MLB

  • Alphonse Eugene Smith, outfielder and third baseman (1946-1948); played for Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox

  • Quincy Trouppe, catcher (1945-1947); played for Cleveland in MLB

  • Marvin Williams, second baseman (1950)

Sam Jethroe is pictured on his 1952 Topps baseball card.
Sam Jethroe is pictured on his 1952 Topps baseball card.

Cleveland Cubs (1931-1932)

  • Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige, pitcher (1931); played for Cleveland, the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City Athletics in MLB

  • Cristóbal Torriente, outfielder (1932)

Columbus Blue Birds (1931-1933)

  • Bill Byrd, pitcher (1933)

  • William "Dizzy" Dismukes, pitcher and manager (1933-1934)

  • Leroy Morney, shortstop (1933)

  • Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, pitcher, catcher and manager (1933)

Dayton Marcos (1909-1926)

  • Alfred "Koke" Alexander, outfielder (1918-1920)

  • George "Chippy" Britt, every position (1919-1920)

  • William "Dizzy" Dismukes, pitcher and manager (1918-1919)

Toledo Crawfords (1939), previously the Pittsburgh Crawfords (1931-1938)

  • Oscar Charleston, center fielder and manager (1939)

  • James Buster "Buzz" Clarkson, shortstop and third baseman, (1938-1940)l; played for the Boston Braves

Josh Gibson stats

Gibson, who spent his entire career in the Negro Leagues from 1930, 1933-40 and 1942-46, will now be considered the greatest catcher of all-time, and arguably the best player of all-time, according to the official historical records after an independent committee reviewed them, USA Today reported.

“When you hear Josh Gibson’s name now, it’s not just that he was the greatest player in the Negro Leagues,’’ Sean Gibson, Gibson’s great-grandson, told USA TODAY Sports, “but one of the greatest of all time. These aren’t just Negro League stats. They’re Major League Baseball stats.

“This means so much for not only the Josh Gibson family, but representing the 2,300 men in the Negro Leagues who didn’t get the opportunity to play [in the Major Leagues].’’

Here are some of the best of Gibson's career stats and who he surpassed in the MLB record books:

  • Batting average: .372 (surpassing Ty Cobb's .367)

  • Slugging percentage: .718 (surpassing Babe Ruth)

  • OPS: 1.177 (surpassing Babe Ruth)

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Negro Leagues join MLB records, impacting Ohio legends, Josh Gibson