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MLB Integrates Negro League Statistics, Reshaping the Record Books

*Major League Baseball (MLB) has integrated statistics from former Negro Leagues players into its historical records on its website.

The move has resulted in new record holders. MLB icons Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb are being replaced in some categories by players who were barred from stepping on the same fields as these white males due to segregation.

CNN writes, “Josh Gibson became Major League Baseball’s career leader with a .372 batting average, surpassing Ty Cobb’s .367, when Negro Leagues records for more than 2,300 players were incorporated Tuesday after a three-year research project.”

Additionally, the MLB website indicates that Gibson has surpassed Babe Ruth in career slugging percentage.

Negro Leagues - MLB The Show 23 (John Donaldson) - via CNN
Negro Leagues – MLB The Show 23 (John Donaldson) – via CNN

“We are proud that the official historical record now includes the players of the Negro Leagues. This initiative is focused on ensuring that future generations of fans have access to the statistics and milestones of all those who made the Negro Leagues possible,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement.

“Their accomplishments on the field will be a gateway to broader learning about this triumph in American history and the path that led to Jackie Robinson’s 1947 Dodger debut.”

In December 2020, MLB announced it would address a longstanding oversight by incorporating the Negro Leagues into its records. At the time, the Negro Leagues were officially elevated to major league status.

As we reported earlier, MLB 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.”

Manfred said previously in a statement, “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.”

Per CNN, Scott Simkus, one of the researchers tasked with compiling and constructing the Seamheads Negro Leagues Database, said at the time, “Many people have heard of Martin Dihigo and Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. But what about the thousands of other men who played in the Negro Leagues from 1920 to 1948? They’re being recognized finally as major league caliber ballplayers.”

Simkus added, “Their statistical records, their careers are going to be considered equal to anybody who had played in the National League or American League during that period of time.”

According to CNN, John Thorn, MLB’s official historian, chaired a 17-person committee on baseball records that included Negro Leagues experts and statisticians. Thorn said, “The condensed 60-game season for the 2020 calendar year for the National League and American League prompted us to think that maybe the shortened Negro League seasons could come under the MLB umbrella, after all.”

The updated version of MLB’s database will be available to the public before the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants play a tribute game to the Negro Leagues on June 20 at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

READ MORE FROM EURWEB.COM: MLB Elevates Negro Leagues to ‘Major League’ Status: ‘Longtime Oversight’ [VIDEO]

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