In 1947 Jackie Robinson “crossed the colour line” and joined Major League Baseball as the first player of colour.  Prior to Robinson’s historic move, white players were a part of Major League Baseball and players of colour joined the Negro Leagues where “Only the Ball was White”.

On December 16, MLB recognized the Negro Leagues and the quality of the men who played the game.

In recognition of the new status, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred bestowed MLB status upon seven of the Negro Leagues – the Negro National League, 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 (II).

Currently there are 35 Negro Leagues players who have been enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

The new status means that over 3,000 Negro Leagues players will have their stats and accomplishments included in with over 100 years of MLB statistics.  Only the stats between 1920 and 1948 will be included when the stats have been sorted out.

Commissioner Manfred issued a statement saying, “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 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.”

President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Bob Kendrick also applauded the change saying, “for historical merit, it is extraordinarily important.  Having been around so many of the Negro League players, they never looked to Major League Baseball to validate them.,  But for fans and for historical sake, this is significant, it really is.  So we are extremely pleased with this announcement.  And for us, it does give additional credence to how significant the Negro Leagues were, both on and off the field.”