Baseball Reference dramatically expands stat coverage of the Negro Leagues

Baseball-Reference.com: Negro Leagues Are Major Leagues logoJUNE 15, 2021 — Baseball-Reference.com, a Sports Reference website that serves as a complete source for baseball history, including major league player, team, and league stats, awards, records, leaders, rookies and scores, has dramatically expanded its coverage of the Negro Leagues and historical Black major league players. Beginning today, Major Negro Leagues (from 1920-1948) are now listed with the National League and American League as major leagues at Baseball-Reference.com.

“Baseball Reference is not bestowing a new status on these players or their accomplishments. The Negro Leagues have always been major leagues, and we are changing our site’s presentation to properly recognize this fact,” said Sean Forman, Sports Reference President and longtime SABR member. “The Negro Leagues are not less than the American and National Leagues; they are different, and our work recognizes this as we implement these changes.”

In keeping with the company’s mission and values, when it comes to this endeavor, Sports Reference’s intent is to celebrate the players, teams, and leagues added to its site, as well as to educate its users about the history of these leagues.

Spurred on by thoughtful commentary on this matter last summer, as well as Major League Baseball’s announcement in December 2020 of its new policy recognizing the Negro Leagues as major leagues, Sports Reference has been working diligently to incorporate this long overdue and critical part of the sport’s history into Baseball-Reference.com in a manner consistent with the major league level these leagues played at, acting with the utmost respect for the players, their families, the researchers, and the fans of these leagues.

“Although much of our work at Sports Reference is heavily stats-driven, we recognize that the history and the legend and lore of many of these players exists beyond the numbers,” Forman noted. “Thus, to celebrate that legacy, we have commissioned numerous articles from Negro League experts, historians, journalists, former players, family members and others to explain this part of baseball history.”

Forman, along with Scott Simkus of Seamheads.com; Larry Lester, chair of SABR’s Negro Leagues Committee; and Dr. Raymond Doswell of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum; will participate in a special online panel discussion on the Negro Leagues as part of the Summer of SABR: Golden Celebration Series at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 26. All baseball fans are invited to attend. Visit sabr.org/summer to register for this virtual event, which is open to all baseball fans.

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Originally published: June 15, 2021. Last Updated: June 26, 2021.

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