SABR establishes task force to consider Negro Leagues as major leagues 

SABR logoDECEMBER 15, 2020 — One hundred years after the founding of the Negro National League in 1920, SABR has organized a special task force to explore prominent Black baseball organizations during the segregated era for the purpose of considering their status as major leagues.

The task force, chaired by Mark Armour, president of SABR’s Board of Directors, will make a recommendation as to which Negro Leagues demonstrated both a major-league caliber of play and high standards of organizational structure. Before Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, no Black players had played in the National League or other major leagues since white baseball officials established a racial color barrier in 1887.

“SABR has been cataloging and correcting baseball history, as well as championing the Negro Leagues, since our founding in 1971,” Armour said. “We wonder if the time is not right to formally recognize the best of the great Black leagues, and to better integrate their stories and records with those of the other recognized major leagues.”

The group — which will include representatives from SABR’s Negro Leagues Committee, Baseball Records Committee, Biographical Research Committee, and other influential members of the baseball research community — will also evaluate how to better integrate Negro Leagues records, stats, and stories into SABR’s publications, databases, and future research projects.

The Society for American Baseball Research is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering research and disseminating the history and record of baseball. Founded in 1971, SABR has more than 6,000 members worldwide and has established itself as a vibrant baseball community and a premier distributor of ground-breaking baseball information. SABR features more than 80 regional chapters and 30-plus research committees, with three annual publications — two editions of the Baseball Research Journal and The National Pastime — in addition to other print and e-books. To learn more, visit

Originally published: December 15, 2020. Last Updated: December 14, 2020.