One hundred years after the formation of the Negro Leagues, Major League Baseball has announced that is will recognize the players of that era as historic equals.
The move, announced by commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday, elevates approximately 3,400 players who played between 1920 and 1948 to "Major League" status. It also includes their statistics and records to the league's official 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. "We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record."
"The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is thrilled to see this well-deserved recognition of the Negro Leagues," said the museum's president, Bob Kendrick. "In the minds of baseball fans worldwide, this serves as historical validation for those who had been shunned from the Major Leagues and had the foresight and courage to create their own league that helped change the game and our country too. This acknowledgement is a meritorious nod to the courageous owners and players who helped build this exceptional enterprise and shines a welcomed spotlight on the immense talent that called the Negro Leagues home."
In August, MLB celebrated the centennial of the Negro Leagues, with MLB players, managers, coaches and umpires all wearing 100th Anniversary logo patches. The league and players also donated $1 million to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in February.
The Negro Leagues were comprised of seven distinct leagues that played between 1920-1948 -- the Negro National League (twice), the Eastern Colored League, the American Negro League, the East-West League, the Negro Southern League and the Negro American League.