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Rachel Robinson, widow of Baseball player Jackie Robinson stands next to a mural of her late husband. Source: Al Bello / Getty

In a move that is long overdue, Major League Baseball has officially upgraded the Negro Leagues to “Major League” status. 

Moving forward, the organization will recognize stats from 3,400 athletes who were a part of the Negro Leagues from 1920-1948. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred referred to the change as “correcting a longtime oversight in the game’s history,” according to

As reported by CBS Sports, the MLB press release states:

“This long overdue recognition is the product of evaluation throughout this year, which included consideration of: discussions with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and other baseball entities; the previous and ongoing studies of baseball authors and researchers; the 2006 study by the National Baseball Hall of Fame (the Negro League Researchers and Authors Group); and an overall historical record that has expanded in recent years.  In particular, MLB commends the work of Gary Ashwill, Scott Simkus, Mike Lynch, and Kevin Johnson, who drove the construction of the Seamheads Negro Leagues Database, and Larry Lester, whose decades-long research underlies and adds to their work.  MLB credits all of the baseball research community for discovering additional facts, statistics, and context that exceed the criteria used by the Special Committee on Baseball Records in 1969 to identify six ‘Major Leagues’ since 1876.  It is MLB’s view that the Committee’s 1969 omission of the Negro Leagues from consideration was clearly an error that demands today’s designation.”

The following leagues will be elevated, per the site: the Negro National League (I) (1920–1931); the Eastern Colored League (1923–1928); the American Negro League (1929); the East-West League (1932); the Negro Southern League (1932); the Negro National League (II) (1933–1948); and the Negro American League (1937–1948).