Josh Gibson to Break Records As MLB Integrates Negro League Stats, per Report

Aug 2, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Statue of Josh Gibson in the outfield concourse before the game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park.  The Washington Nationals won 3-0.
Aug 2, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Statue of Josh Gibson in the outfield concourse before the game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals won 3-0. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball's record book appears set to receive a long overdue rewrite.

MLB will formally integrate Negro League statistics into its major league database on Wednesday, according to a Tuesday afternoon report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The move, announced in 2020, will completely change the look of baseball's record books—with Hall of Fame catcher Josh Gibson as the main beneficiary.

According to Nightengale, Gibson will be recognized as the game's all-time leader in batting average (.372), slugging percentage (.718) and OPS (1.177). He will pass Hall of Fame outfielder Ty Cobb in the first category and Hall of Fame outfielder Babe Ruth in the other two.

Gibson appears set to demolish the single-season record book as well. His .466 batting average for the 1943 Homestead Grays will eclipse Hall of Fame outfielder Hugh Duffy's hallowed .440 in 1894, and his .974 slugging percentage for the 1937 Grays is also a record.

"When you hear Josh Gibson’s name now, it’s not just that he was the greatest player in the Negro Leagues,’’ Sean Gibson, Gibson’s great-grandson, told Nightengale, “but one of the greatest of all time. These aren’t just Negro League stats. They’re Major League Baseball stats."

Other players receiving newfound recognition for otherworldly feats include (but are not limited to) right fielder Charlie Smith, who hit .451 for the New York Lincoln Giants in 1929, and first baseman and left fielder Mule Suttles, who slugged .877 for the 1926 St. Louis Stars.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.