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.