Major leaguers praise inclusion of Negro Leagues statistics into major league records

CHICAGO (AP) — Buck Leonard. Charlie “Chino” Smith. Turkey Stearnes.

Baseball players and fans alike are learning more about the Negro Leagues after the statistics for more than 2,300 players — historic figures like Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige and Mule Suttles — were incorporated into the major league record book following a three-year research project.

“You get to learn about a lot of names and a lot of people that we may not have heard about,” Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen said Wednesday. “Now that Josh Gibson is at the top of OPS and batting average and a few other categories, it’s great news. But it’s more than just that and the numbers. It’s great that you now get to learn about the players in the Negro Leagues. ... I’ll be able to do some more deep diving into some names that I may not have heard of.”

A 17-person committee chaired by John Thorn, Major League Baseball's official historian, met six times as part of the meticulous process of examining statistics from seven Negro Leagues from 1920-1948. Nearly 75% of the available records have been included, according to MLB, and additional research could lead to more changes to the major league leaderboards.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene called the move “long overdue.”

“It is really exciting,” he said. “I’m going to have to do a little bit more research and understand some of the history to kind of rewire my brain on some of the best players.”


AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum, and AP freelance reporters Dana Gauruder and Gary Schatz contributed to this story.



Jay Cohen, The Associated Press