*The Negro Leagues have officially been elevated to major league status.
In a statement, Major League Baseball called the move a “longtime oversight,” noting that everyone who played in the leagues, which ran from 1920 to 1948, “will become a part of Major League Baseball’s history.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the move Wednesday.
“All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations and triumph against a backdrop of injustice,” Manfred said in a statement.
“We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record.”
“For historical merit, today it is extraordinarily important. Having been around so many of the Negro League players, they never looked to @MLB to validate them. But for fans and for historical sake, this is significant, it really is” – @nlbmprez pic.twitter.com/wOu4HJRTFN
— Negro Leagues Baseball Museum KC (@NLBMuseumKC) December 16, 2020
Here’s more from NBC News:
The records and stats of 3,400 players who competed in seven leagues for Black players between 1920 and 1948, will be included in MLB records, officials said.
The seven leagues that will now be included in official records are the original Negro National League (1920-31), the Eastern Colored League (1923-28), the American Negro League (1929), the East-West League (1932), the Negro Southern League (1932), the second Negro National League (1933-48) and the Negro American League (1937-48), MLB said.
“For historical merit, today is extraordinarily important. Having been around so many of the Negro League players, they never looked to MLB to validate them,” Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick said in a statement. “But for fans and for historical sake, this is significant, it really is.”
Notable players from the Negro Leagues of 1920-48 include 32 Hall of Famers, such as Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Roy Campanella, Satchel Paige, Monty Irvin, Josh Gibson, James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell and Larry Doby.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled by this recognition of the significance of the Negro Leagues in Major League Baseball history,” said Edward Schauder, legal representative for Gibson’s estate and co-founder of the Negro Leagues Players Association.
“Josh Gibson was a legend who would have certainly been a top player in the major leagues if he had been allowed to play.”