ALLENDALE, Mich. — On Wednesday, MLB announced that it was designating baseball’s Negro Leagues to major league status, with Commissioner Rob Manfred saying in part, "All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game's best players, innovations and triumph against a backdrop of injustice. We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record."
Fox 17 spoke with Assistant History Professor at GVSU and Black Sports History Expert, Dr. Louis Moore about the announcement, who admitted he wasn’t shocked by the news, but certainly excited about it. “These are the stories we need to tell and these are the stories we need to celebrate,” Dr. Moore explained, echoing the words of the commissioner about the quality of players in the Negro Leagues. “One way to look at this is to look at what happened after integration, if we just look at the National League and their league MVP’s, from 1949 to 1959, all but two of those MVP’s had played in the Negro Leagues, so were talking about guys like a Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella, all those guys spent time in the Negro Leagues and when they got to Major League Baseball, they were the best.”
Exactly how MLB might integrate their records remains to be seen, in part because as Dr. Moore explained, many of the statistics are still buried in old newspaper articles. But either way, the 3,400 players from the Negro Leagues will soon be a part of Major League Baseball forever. “It’s huge because just like we talk about baseball being America’s game, it’s a way to say the Negro Leagues were part of America’s game.”