As reported by NBC News on Tuesday (May 28), Major League Baseball (MLB) officially decided to include statistics from the Negro Leagues -- a move that will acknowledge approximately 2,300 Black players. This included Josh Gibson, revered as one of the greatest catchers of all time, who was previously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. As of today (May 29), he now leads MLB in multiple batting categories, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging, surpassing the likes of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

Back in 2020, Commissioner Robert Manfred announced that MLB would rectify this historical oversight. "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," he stated according to REVOLT. "We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record."

The integration of Negro Leagues statistics into MLB records involved a meticulous review process of examining decades' worth of newspaper clippings, microfilm, and other historical documents to ensure the accuracy of the data. Speaking to NBC News, John Thorn, the chairman of the Negro Leagues Statistical Review Committee, described the MLB's decision as “not only righting a social, cultural, and historical wrong, it’s defining baseball as a game for Americans without exclusion.”

“Baseball is a game of consistency, and it’s also a game of change. We may be slow to change, but when we do, it can be profound,” Thorn added.

Come June 20, MLB will further honor the Negro Leagues with a tribute game at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, the oldest professional baseball ballpark in the United States. Participants will wear period uniforms that pay homage to Alabama native and center field legend Willie Mays.