It is no secret that Major League Baseball owes a significant debt to the Negro Leagues given the fact many MLB legends found their start there. Today (Dec. 16), MLB officials are moving forward to elevate the Negro Leagues to MLB status, giving recognition to a number of players who have transformed the sport to where it stands today.
Addressing what MLB described as a “long overdue recognition,” Commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday bestowed Major League status upon seven professional Negro Leagues that operated between 1920 and 1948. The decision means that the approximately 3,400 players of the Negro Leagues during this time period are officially considered Major Leaguers, with their stats and records becoming a part of Major League history.
“All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations and triumphs 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.”
The move will recognize seven leagues, which included the Negro National League, the Eastern Colored League, the American Negro League, the East-West League, the Negro Southern League, the Negro National League, and the Negro American League. Each of these leagues existed for a limited period beginning in 1920 before being done way with in 1948 with the emergence of Major League Baseball.
Currently, the combined Negro Leagues produced 35 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees and now, late legends such as Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell are now officially members of the MLB despite racial segregation robbing them of greater opportunities during their playing days.
With the news going wide, folks on Twitter are reacting to the MLB’s decision to officially welcome the Negro Leagues, as it should be. Check out the reactions below.
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Long Overdue: Negro Leagues Now Recognized As Part Of Major League Baseball was originally published on hiphopwired.com
MLB is still pretty trash, but this is great. Does this make Josh Gibson the new home run king? https://t.co/9173FXbPCU— DJ Low Key (@djlowkey) December 16, 2020
Kansas City now has four World Series titles— Cody Tapp (@codybtapp) December 16, 2020
Kansas City Monarchs won the World Series in 1924 and 1942 https://t.co/bVtTHQ3WAs
The last .400 hitter in the majors is now Josh Gibson. https://t.co/IWYx2iqu1p— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) December 16, 2020
Wow. MLB is officially recognizing the Negro Leagues as a Major League. MLB describes this as a "longtime oversight and the Negro Leagues now has its "long overdue recognition." pic.twitter.com/iyoD3zYVc2— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) December 16, 2020
MLB is officially recognizing the Negro Leagues as a Major League.— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) December 16, 2020
Thousands of players, like Josh Gibson – considered to be one of the best hitters baseball has ever seen though he wasn't allowed to play in a single MLB game – are now officially considered Major Leaguers.
Find their families and pay them whatever their ancestor would have earned as a professional plus inflation. https://t.co/sQWHy0xG32— Charita (@httpcjd_) December 16, 2020
Many of PA's iconic Negro League athletes who never got the respect they deserved are finally recognized by @MLB as #MajorLeagurers; their achievements will now finally be part of the traditional story of America's pastime #PAHistory https://t.co/XxxRWr3yOt— Mr. Huesken 👨🏻💻 (@MrHuesken) December 16, 2020
Great news & step in the right direction for something long overdue! Happy for the players (& their families) who's talents will finally be recognized. Be sure to visit the @NLBMuseumKC to learn more. 🙌🏾🏆⚾️🧢 #NegroLeagues #baseball #MLB #BlackHistory #History #twitterstorians https://t.co/rT1kKZ5QqN— Stacey_TheWrtr✍🏽🎬📽🎭📚✡ (@Stacey_TheWrtr) December 16, 2020
This is a momentous & long overdue moment for baseball.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 16, 2020
As for what it means for the statistics of the game, MLB says this:
"MLB and the Elias Sports Bureau have begun a review process to determine the full scope of this designation’s ramifications on statistics and records." https://t.co/C8OnQT3gtg
70 plus years after death, Josh Gibson just surpassed everyone as the greatest hitter of all-time. https://t.co/nBvOJhpSB4— Razzball (@Razzball) December 16, 2020
Barry Bonds on breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record: “No. In my heart, it belongs to Josh Gibson.”— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) December 16, 2020
Gibson is unofficially credited with 962 career HR, exactly 200 more than Bonds.