The MLB is boosting Negro Leagues to ‘Major League’ Ranking


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KANSAS CITY – 1942. Satchel Paige of the Monarchs talks with Josh Gibson of the Homestead Grays before a game in Kansas City in 1941. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)

Jovany Rodriguez

The Negro Leagues that ran from 1920 to 1948 has officially been brought up to major league rank by Major League Baseball. In a statement, MLB called this move a “longtime oversight” and said everyone who played in the leagues through those twenty-eight years “will become a part of Major League Baseball’s history.”

Recognizing the Negro Leagues as major leagues came as the league celebrated the one-hundredth year anniversary of their establishment in 1920. In August of 1968, Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer noted the original decision to not count the Negro Leagues as part of the majors when the commissioner then, William Eckert, convened the MLB Special Baseball Records Committee to determine “the official, definitive statistical compendium of the major leagues.”

John Thorn of wrote that the committee decided to recognize the National League, American League, American Association (1882-91), Union Association (1884), Player’s League (1890), and Federal League (1914-15) as major leagues. MLB’s statement notes that there are “seven distinct leagues” with about 3,400 players whose stats and records will be added as part of the sport’s official history. A total of forty players, managers, and executives who spent all or part of their careers in the Negro Leagues have been elected to be part of the Baseball Hall of Fame.