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MLB Salutes 3,400 Negro Leagues Players With "Major League" Elevation

Mahlik Campbell

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Thearon W. Henderson via Getty Images

Major League Baseball announced that the Negro Leagues would finally be granted "major league" status, "correcting a longtime oversight in the game's history," according to commissioner Rob Manfred.

With this move, about 3,400 players who played in seven leagues between 1920-1948, including the likes of Josh Gibson (pictured sliding below), Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston, will have their stats and records officially recognized by the MLB.

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The exact leagues being re-classified are the Negro National League (I), the Eastern Colored League, the American Negro League, the East-West League, the Negro Southern League, the Negro National League (II) and the Negro American League.

'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 continued 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."

Racist attitudes and rules prevented Black players from joining the majors until 1947 when Jackie Robinson appeared in a game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Prior to that, he played shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues.

Throughout the 2020 season, MLB celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues with special patches and throwback uniforms. 

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Notably, Willie Mays' career milestones will likely change, as he competed for the Birmingham Black Barons in a handful of 1948 games, per The New York Post. The aforementioned Gibson and his record 238 home runs will make their way into the history books as well.

You love to see it: Not only have the Negro Leagues influenced baseball culture this year; Fear of God founder Jerry Lorenzo incorporated the logo into his seventh collection.