Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. reported that the seven Negro Leagues received Major League status along with the 3,400 players who competed between 1920 and 1948.
The Negro Leagues brought together African-American athletes who have been recognized for their sports performance and also as bulwarks of resistance against racial segregation.
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Manfred noted that dark-skinned players were excluded from participating in sports events by the National Baseball Players Association since 1867, so they were grouped together in the Negro Leagues.
In response to the historical record, Manfred said that "all of us who love baseball know that the Negro Leagues developed some of the best players, innovations and successes during the battle against injustice," he said.
Meanwhile, MLB said that on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues, the baseball organization has been "correcting a long omission in the history of the sport."
"Now we are grateful that Negro League players will be where they belong: As members of the Major Leagues and in official historical records," said Mafred.
This decision will put several African-American players in their rightful place in baseball statistics at the highest level, such as Josh Gibson, who will become the last player to bat more than 400 on average (.411 in 1943), surpassing the legendary Ted Williams (406 in 1941).
Another record that would change hands is that of consecutive home run hitting games, currently shared by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long (8). Now the record holder would be John "Mule" Miles, who in 1947, playing for the Chicago Americans Giants, hit home runs in 11 straight games.
Despite being given major league status only this Tuesday, the Negro Leagues had produced 35 members of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. Latin America is also represented in that list, in the persons of Cuban players Martín Dihígo, José de la Caridad Méndez and Cristóbal Torriente, as well as the West Indian baseball entrepreneur Alex Pompez.