Historic decision for Negro Leagues

December 16th, 2020

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum raised its profile this year by celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues. Major League Baseball gave the Negro Leagues even more recognition on Wednesday by adding its statistics to MLB’s official records.

Approximately 3,400 players who played in the Negro Leagues from 1920 to 1948 are now officially considered Major Leaguers, with their stats and records becoming a part of Major League history.

“We tip our cap to Commissioner [Rob] Manfred and all who were involved in making this historical decision -- essentially righting a wrong,” Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick said. “They didn’t have to do anything. They chose to make this acknowledgement. That means a great deal to me and all of us at the Negro League Baseball Museum.

“For the Negro League players, and I got to know so many of them, they were never seeking validation from anyone. They knew how good they were, and they knew how good their league was. But for historical sake, it is significant.”

For Kendrick, it will be interesting to see the combined stats of some of the Negro Leaguers who also spent time in the Major Leagues. Right-hander Satchel Paige, for one, won 28 games in the big leagues. You can now add his 112 victories from the Negro Leagues to his Major League record.

Outfielder Monte Irvin is another example. He was at his peak when he played in the Negro Leagues from 1938 to 1948. During his 10 years with the Newark Eagles, Irvin hit .337 with 41 home runs and 258 RBIs. Those numbers will be added to his Major League stats, which included his time with the New York Giants and the Cubs. During his eight years in the big leagues, Irvin hit .293 with 99 home runs and 443 RBIs.

“Irvin had a significant career in the Negro Leagues. His numbers would change dramatically. There are a handful of players where you will see their stats enhance tremendously if you include what happened in the Negro Leagues,” Kendrick said.