Major League Baseball announced it will elevate the Negro leagues to Major League status in an effort to "highlight the contributions of the pioneers who played from 1920-1948."
MLB will adjust its record books in accordance with the altered designation for the Negro leagues, according to The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh. Those who played in the Negro leagues from 1920 to '48 will now have their stats and achievements recognized by MLB. Players who participated in both the Negro Leagues and MLB will have both sets of statistics counted on their career résumé, per Lindbergh. More than 3,400 players will now have their names officially etched in the MLB record books following baseball's reclassification.
“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,” MLB commissioner Rob 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 Negro leagues were denied status as a major league in 1968 following a ruling from MLB's Special Baseball Records Committee. The all-white voting board gave five other leagues major league status, though those leagues' "level of play was far lower than that of the Negro Leagues," per Lindbergh.
MLB began reconsidering changing the Negro leagues' classification earlier in 2020 as the "100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro leagues coincided with sweeping societal protests of racial injustice."
Various researchers and historians have diligently logged and tracked the nearly three decades of Negro leagues stats previously ignored by MLB. Many Negro leagues stats can be found on Baseball-Reference.com.