Major League Baseball reclassifies Black Leagues

Major League Baseball reclassifies Black Leagues

(New York) Willy Mays will add some hits to his stats; Monte Irvin’s stroke average is expected to rise above .300; while Satchel Paige can add over 150 victories to his career.

Associated Press

Josh Gibson, the biggest hitter in the Black Leagues (“Negro Leagues”), may even end up with a Major Baseball record.

The statistics and records of great players like Gibson, Paige and about 3,400 other players are set to join the Major League players: MLB announced on Wednesday that they are reclassifying the Black Leagues to major league level and that the statistics of their players would now be part of the story.

MLB said on Wednesday that “a long-standing injustice in baseball history” was corrected by raising the black leagues to major league status on the centenary of their founding.

The Black Leagues were composed of seven leagues, and MLB will now include their statistics, collected between 1920 and 1948.

They began to disband a year after Jackie Robinson became the first black to play in the Majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 after a period with the Montreal Royals.

These leagues were excluded in 1969, when the Baseball Annals Special Committee identified six “major leagues” dating back to 1876.

“According to MLB, the omission in 1969 of including the black leagues from the committee was clearly a mistake that requires the correction that was made today,” Major Baseball said in a statement.

MLB will partner with Elias Sports Bureau to review Black League statistics and records to find a way to incorporate them into Major Baseball history. There was no standardized way to score games or keep statistics in these leagues, but there are enough summaries to patch up some of his statistics.

For example, Mays can be credited with 17 more hits, which came from the 1948 season with the Alabama Black Barons. Irvin, a Mays teammate with the New York Giants, could see his career average drop from .293 to .304 if the statistics posted on from his nine Black League seasons are correct. Meanwhile, Paige currently has only 28 wins on the clock. He should be able to add at least 146 to this sum.

While some believe Gibson would have hit over 800 homers in 16 seasons in the Black Leagues, it is unlikely that there is enough evidence to put him ahead of Barry Bonds and his 762 homers, the current major’s brand. .

However, depending on what Elias and MLB decide, Gibson may end up with another enviable brand. His hit average of .441 in 1943 would be the best ever, beating the .440 maintained by Hugh Duffy in 1894. However, Gibson’s average was maintained in less than 80 games, far from modern standards at 162. Duffy played 125 games in 1894 .

“We could not be more enthusiastic about this recognition of the importance of the Black League in the history of Major League Baseball,” said Edward Schauder, representative of the Gibson estate and co-founder of the Black Leagues Players Association. . Josh Gibson was a legend who could have been one of the best players in the Majors had he been allowed to play. ”

Major League Baseball has reviewed the statement from the Hall of Fame, Negro League Researchers and Authors Group, as well as various studies done by other authors and historians.

The perceived shortcomings in terms of structures and schedules for the Black League are the direct consequences of exclusionary practices from Major Baseball. Denying them the status of the major leagues has proven to be a double penalty, just like those imposed on all Hall of Fame candidates before Satchell Paige, in 1971, said John Thorn, the MLB historian. . It is very gratifying to give the Black League 100 years after they became basic. ”

“All of us who love baseball have long known that the Black Leagues have produced some of the best players, the greatest innovations and great triumphs against a backdrop of injustice,” said Commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement. We are grateful to include the Black League players. They are Major players, and they must integrate our history. “

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