Major League Baseball on Wednesday recognized the Negro leagues as a major league and sought to correct long-standing mistakes by counting the figures and records of thousands of Black players as part of the game’s floor history.
“My daughter and my sons heard, they were all excited, they came to talk and rejoice in the gospel,” Deesley, 93, who played for the New York Cubans in 1948, said by phone from his home in Detroit.
“It’s the start of Christmas, which makes the New Year so much happier, especially since my wife passed away in January. I think of all the players … it’s a wonderful thing.”
The announcement of the MLP comes during the centenary celebrations of the founding of the Negro League, which featured stars such as Josh Gibson – considered one of the greatest winners in the history of the game – and Leroy “Satchel” Baiz, a pitch legend making his big league debut in 1948 at the age of 42.
Deesley noted that official recognition confirms what Negro League players have known for a long time.
“When I was 12 I started training with some former Negro League players and heard stories about Josh Gibson, Chatchel Baiz and Buck Leonard,” he said. “I had a feeling they were just as good as the main leagues.”
Historical recognition coincided this week with the Cleveland Baseball Club’s decision to remove “Indians” from its name because American corporate brands are reconsidering the use of racist caricatures and similar names.
“All of us who love baseball have known for a long time that the Negro Leagues have created success in the wake of many of the best players in our sport, innovation and injustice,” said MLP Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. said in a statement.
“We are now grateful to be able to count the players of the Negro Leagues wherever they are: as Major Leagues in the official historical record.”
By raising the status of the Negro League, which had seven leagues from 1920 to 1948 and about 3,400 players, the MLP aimed to “fix long-term oversight in the history of the game.”
The decline of the Negro leagues began in 1947 when Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the MLP with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In 1969, the Negro Leagues were not included in the six “Major Leagues” identified since 1876 in the Special Committee for Baseball Records.
“It is the MLP’s view that removing the Negro League from the 1969 committee would be a mistake that would require today’s position,” the MLP said.
“The flaws in the structure and planning of the Negro Leagues were born out of the MLP’s exemption practices, and denying them Major League status was a double sentence, similar to the Hall of Fame candidates before the instigation of Satchel Baige in 1971,” said an official historian of John Major League Baseball. Said in the statement.
“It is a great pleasure to give Negro leagues MLP status a century after they were established.”
The study of old records began
The MLA said he had begun a review with the Elias Sports Bureau to “determine the full scope” of the major league’s “changes of position on statistics and records”. Bureau Major League Baseball Official Statistician.
“MLP and Elias will work with historians and other experts in the field to assess relevant issues and reach conclusions once the process is complete,” the statement said.
Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, said the recognition “serves as a historic test for those with the vision and courage to move away from the Major League and create their own league that helped change the game.” Even our country. “
The acknowledgment “is a tribute to the brave owners and players who helped build this exceptional company and welcomes the immense talent that has brought the Negro leagues home,” he said in a statement.
The museum said on Twitter that the MLP’s move was “extraordinary”, but that Negro League players had “never seen Major League Baseball check them out”.
The seven leagues with major league status are the Negro National League (I) (1920–1931); Eastern Color League (1923–1928); American Negro League (1929); East-West League (1932); Negro Southern League (1932); Negro National League (II) (1933–1948); And the Negro American League (1937–1948).