MAJOR League Baseball (MLB) is giving the Negro Leagues of 1920 through 1948 to “Major League” status, MLB said on Wednesday, calling the move a correction of “a longtime oversight.”
The records and statistics of the Negro Leagues, in which Black players competed after being forced out of MLB competition due to racism and segregation laws, will be incorporated into MLB history, a century after the formal introduction of the 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,” Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a statement.
MLB said it was working with the Elias Sports Bureau to review the move’s “ramifications on statistics and records.”
“Having been around so many of the Negro League players, they never looked to (Major League Baseball) to validate them,” said Kendrick. “But for fans and for historical sake, this is significant, it really is.”
Roughly 3,400 players competed in the seven Negro Leagues from 1920 through 1948 but were denied equal recognition to their white counterparts long after Jackie Robinson became the first Black player on a Major League roster in the modern era in 1945.