No Static | Major League Baseball Finally Incorporates Negro League Stats Into The Majors’

No Static | Major League Baseball Finally Incorporates Negro League Stats Into The Majors’

The landscape of MLB history took a dramatic shift on Wednesday with the integration of Negro League stats into the MLB database. And while many of these Negro league players who will be shown are already either in the Hall of Fame or well-known, this will enhance the image of MLBbros collectively. For starters, three of the top five leaders in batting average are now MLBbros, including Josh Gibson first overall. So many different narratives will now have to come into play when discussing all-time greats.

 

(Some) Negro League Stats Officially Recognized By Baseball-Reference.com

Naturally talents like Josh Gibson will now be debated as the greatest hitter ever with context to support it, but there will be so many more that are appreciated. For baseball historians this gives a whole new flock of players to learn about and appreciate. Players like Oscar Charleston and Jud Wilson are sure to be examined closely as their hitting resumes are impressive and now in full display.

 

Crown Me | Negro League Legend Josh Gibson Surpasses Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb On New MLB Statistical Leaderboards

This also changes the legacies of players who converted from the Negro Leagues such as Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson who saw their hits total increase by ten and 49 respectively. This could not have come at a better time as the percentage of Black players is at an all-time low. This is inspiring and should spark more involvement and interest for future black players and current ones. Every sport has icons of the past that young players use to model their game after and now there is easier access to Black players who weren’t in the Major Leagues but still proven to be some of the greatest baseball players of all time. There is sure to be pushback with the addition of these stats, as some players will drop in career rankings, but if the ultimate goal of the MLB is to completely display the entire history of baseball, then this was a necessity.  This is further proving the Black and Brown players have and always will be integral to the game of baseball.

 

Why The Negro Leagues Still Matter | It Was Never an Inferior League, The Proof Is In Books

Crown Me | Negro League Legend Josh Gibson Surpasses Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb On New MLB Statistical Leaderboards

Crown Me | Negro League Legend Josh Gibson Surpasses Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb On New MLB Statistical Leaderboards

Move over, Ty Cobb. Josh Gibson is the biggest sheriff in Cooperstown, now. 

 

At least as a hitter, of course. 

 

According to multiple reports on Tuesday, the MLB is set to officially recognize Negro League statistics into its record book on Wednesday, making Gibson the MLB’s all-time batting average leader at .372 — surpassing Cobb’s .367. 

 

“It’s a great day,” Negro League Museum President Bob Kendrick told Yahoo Sports. 

 

Josh Gibson Becomes Single-Season Batting Leader

 

It doesn’t stop there, though. With the integration, Gibson will also be the single-season leader in batting average for his .466 batting average in 1943. Topping it off, he’s the single-season and career leader in slugging and on-base plus slugging percentage — overtaking Babe Ruth in the two career categories. 

 

Why The Negro Leagues Still Matter | It Was Never an Inferior League, The Proof Is In Books

Who Is Josh Gibson?

 

Gibson, a Baseball Hall of Famer, played from 1930-1946 where he became a 12-time Negro League All-Star and two-time Negro World Series Champion thanks to his powerful pop of the bat.  

 

“This means so much for not only the Josh Gibson family,” Gibson’s grandson, Sean, told USA Today, “but representing the 2,300 men in the Negro Leagues who didn’t get the opportunity to play (in the Major Leagues).” 

 

Gibson is among the many Negro Leaguers who will see their Negro League stats enter the books, with Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and living legend Willie Mays being some of the prominent players

 

 

Most notably, Paige moves to third in ERA in a season with 1.01, a mark he accomplished in 1944 with the Kansas City Monarchs.

 

With the trio playing in both the MLB and Negro Leagues, their marks in MLB Leaderboards are set for a slight boost. 

 

Merging Statistical Leaderboards

 

The merging of leaderboards was brought about by the Negro League Statisical Review Commitee, a committee made up of former players, historians and writers tasked with uncovering and validating Negro League statistics. 

 

Of the group is former MLB pitcher CC Sabathia, Hall of Fame baseball writer Claire Smith and MLBbro founder and editor Rob Parker. 

 

(Some) Negro League Stats Officially Recognized By Baseball-Reference.com

 

The biggest part of the mission started in Dec. 2020, when the MLB officially recognized Negro Leagues as a major league, allowing their statistics to be used in the books. 

 

With the Negro Leagues generally running from 1920-1951, the committee went through box scores and other data in order to discover and validate various statistics, making way for the official move into MLB record books.

 

“We are proud that the official historical record now includes the players of the Negro Leagues,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said according to Yahoo Sports. “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.” 

 

The move is a monumental change to baseball statistics, giving the first MLBbros a chance to live on forever in major league history.  The change comes right around the corner of the Negro League Tribute at Rickwood Field, a contest between the Cardinals and Giants in Birmingham on June 20. 

Why The Negro Leagues Still Matter | It Was Never an Inferior League, The Proof Is In Books

Why The Negro Leagues Still Matter | It Was Never an Inferior League, The Proof Is In Books

“In an alternate universe, this is the man, not Babe Ruth, whose short, compact swing produces the longest, and most home runs. He would be the charismatic figure that would first reach 500, 600, and 700 career home runs. Playing in the Negro Leagues in the 1930s, he never got the chance to play Major League Baseball. The home-run record for a catcher in the major leagues was only 209 until the mid-1950s. Gibson would have had two or three times that amount.”

 

— Elliott Kalb, FoxSports.com on Josh Gibson (2009).

Josh Gibson Was Better Than Babe Ruth, But Negro Leagues Still Discriminated Against  

 

When Mr. Kalb made this statement a few years back, the noted sports historian was ranking the greatest catchers in baseball history. To my surprise and delight, he tabbed the Hall of Famer and Negro League great at the top of his list over such greats as Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra and another ex-Negro Leaguer, Roy Campanella.

 

Also, to no surprise, there were some that had a problem seeing the great slugger even on the list, let alone being ranked No. 1. They questioned the validity of his career and also questioned his all-time numbers.

 

They even went as far as to say the Negro Leagues couldn’t compare to Major League Baseball. Sadly, there are still many in the baseball intelligencia that hold the same views.

 

I’ve been blessed to have written several spotlights on the Negro Leagues over the years. It bugs the hell out of me that even in this day, these great players still get shortchanged on their contributions to the “National Pastime”.

 

HBCU’s & The Negro Leagues: A Long Standing Kinship

 

That kind of narrow-minded thinking is the one of the reasons why MLBbro.com has firmly embraced the history and great legacy of these players. As I’ve stated several times, I personally don’t acknowledge anything about Major League Baseball before April 15, 1947 for obvious reasons.

 

The Proof On Negro League Greatness Is There 

 

One of the biggest myths about the Negro Leagues is that there aren’t any definitive sources of information about their players. Let me be the first to tell you that is one of the greatest lies of the century.

 

Since the early 90’s and beyond, there are several books available either through your local book stores, libraries, or the Internet. Many have definitive stats or yearly chronicles of league play as far back as the 1800’s.

 

Two books that come to mind are one’s that I personally use as research for my articles.

 

“The Complete Book of The Negro Leagues: The Other Half Of Baseball History” written by historian John Holway goes into detail year by year, with statistics on every player by team, plus text and stats on the Cuban Leagues, Puerto Rico, and the great post-season games, plus match ups against the best white stars.

 

Holway, who’s been researching the sport of baseball since 1944, has also released previous books on the Negro Leagues. He along with author and fellow historian James A. Riley are among the nation’s most knowledgeable experts of the Negro Leagues.

 

 

Riley’s book “The Biographical Encyclopedia of The Negro Baseball Leagues” also serves as a definitive guide on the history of the league and its players. It lists individual biographies and statistics on every player who ever put on Negro League uniform while including team histories as well.

 

He also maintains a comprehensive website (www.blackbaseball.com) which has many other Negro League publications and memorabilia as well.

 

Since the release of these two epic publications, there have been several other books that have come out shedding even more light on the great legacy of the Negro Leagues. 

 

One of my other favorites is Larry Lester’s book on the history of the league’s showcase event. In “Black Baseball’s National Showcase: The East-West All-Star Game 1933-1953” takes an in-depth look at the yearly game which was a staple of the league for many seasons.

 

Meet Artie Wilson: This Negro League Bro Was Baseball’s Last .400 Hitter

 

Sam Lacy, Wendell Smith, Bill Nunn: Legendary Black Baseball Reporters

 

What makes this book an even greater treasure is reading the writing of some of the great black sportswriters from that era. Articles from Sam Lacy, Wendell Smith, and Bill Nunn give vivid accounts of the impact of the East-West Classic and the Negro Leagues as a whole.

 

What I want to do is to challenge all you non-believers out there. There is no doubt in my mind that the Negro Leagues were on the same par as the Major Leagues. In a lot of instances, the Negro Leagues were better and a helluva lot more innovative.

 

Negro Leagues Set Trends Copied By MLB

 

The Negro Leagues played night baseball before the majors. The teams traveled all around the country and spread the sports overseas long before the majors did. The only difference was that the Negro Leaguers weren’t given the same platform that the majors had and still have to this very day.

 

For those of you who still are skeptical, I challenge you to check out these books I’ve mentioned. See for yourself what many other baseball fans have seen.

 

In truth, the only thing that kept the Negro Leagues from being mentioned in the same breath as the majors was simple prejudice, ignorance, and lack of inclusion.

 

Until you see the entire history that’s out there, as far as I’m concerned you really can’t tell me Josh Gibson or any Negro Leaguer for that matter doesn’t belong on any list of baseball’s greatest players.

 

The ‘Ripple of Hope’ Project Urges MLB To Provide Benefits & Lost Wages To Family Members Of The 25 Hall Of Fame Negro League Players

 

Take a trip to 18th and Vine in Kansas City, Missouri and check out The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. See the league’s history and I promise you’ll think twice about what you may have felt about the Negro Leagues and their players.

 

Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

 

(Some) Negro League Stats Officially Recognized By Baseball-Reference.com

(Some) Negro League Stats Officially Recognized By Baseball-Reference.com

Negro League Baseball records have been added to the Baseball-Reference website, meaning players such as Josh Gibson can take his statistical place amongst his white legendary counterparts.

In a major boost to the legacy of Negro League Baseball, records of several leagues have been officially added to the history of the game’s statistics, vindicating the credibility of many great players who were denied the opportunity to play in the Major Leagues against white legends of the game.

According to the BaseballReference.com website, the statistical authority on the game’s records has expanded its coverage of the Negro Leagues Black major league players from 1920-1948.

 

 

Those statistics are now officially listed with the National League and American League as major league records. That now means the records of Josh Gibson and Satchel Page can be legitimately compared to their white counterparts such as Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson.

The historic announcement admits that the research is ongoing and that 28 years of statistics that have been incorporated into the record banks are “incomplete”

However, it does bring credibility to those who are looking to have Gibson’s name added to either the National or American League Most Valuable Player Award.

 

 

“The Negro Leagues are not less than the National and American Leagues,” reads the statement on the Baseball-Reference website. “They are different, and we recognize that our work must acknowledge those differences.”

This era and the Negro League teams they encompass don’t include the barnstorming teams that were ambassadors during their travels to play against Caribbean counterparts.

They also don’t include other independent teams many historians consider to be as good as the teams that have been included as major league Negro teams on their website now.  The complete register of baseball history contains a significant record of Independent and non-major Negro Leagues including a page for the 1917 Chicago American Giants.

The research is ongoing and there has been no timetable for when it will be complete.  Record-keeping was fractured because of what Baseball Reference acknowledges was systemic racism and the lack of media accounts and record keeping.