Tampa Baseball Museum shares impact of MLB-Negro Leagues stats integration

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It was a move long overdue.

Major League Baseball announced last week it would be integrating Negro League stats into its record books. A move that ensures Negro League players will forever be a part of MLB history. A history that has deep roots in Tampa Bay.

“It’s immense the amount of talent that was in the local area with negro baseball players,” Tampa Baseball Museum docent Augie Montejo said. “As time went on and baseball got integrated, things escalated to the fact that all these guys are local guys. Born in Tampa, lived in Tampa, came back to Tampa and offered their expertise to the next generation, Dwight Gooden, Gary Sheffield.”

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Players like Sarasota native and Hall of Famer Buck O’Neil and Tampa native Dirk Gibbons, who actually grounded out Jackie Robinson at Plant Field, will now have their stats included alongside the major leaguers.

“Those guys were just as good and sometimes better than the white players,” Montejo said.

“I know it took over four years of research to make sure everybody’s stats were correct, Tampa Baseball Museum CEO Arminda Mata said. “If the person deserves to be where they are, their stats, I think the integration of the two together is wonderful and I think everyone should be acknowledged for what they accomplished.”

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