On Wednesday, December 16th, 2020, the MLB officially recognized 7 Black baseball leagues, which operated during the segregation era when Black baseball players were not allowed to play in the Major Leagues under the unwritten Gentleman’s agreement. The announcement comes just days after Cleveland’s baseball team released a statement saying they will no longer be identified as the Cleveland Indians, which has long been condemned as insensitive to the Native American community.
The MLB will work to incorporate records and statistics from the Negro Leagues’ 28-year existence. The Negro Leagues had 3,400 players and produced 35 Hall of Famers including Josh Gibson, whose regarded as one of the greatest homerun hitters of his time; Gibson played 3 seasons for the Homestead Grays and was known as the Black Babe Ruth, while Babe Ruth was known as the white Josh Gibson.
The recognition by the MLB comes after a tumultuous year of riots, protest, and division in America over systemic racism, police brutality, and the killing of George Floyd, which led groups like Black Lives Matter to launch statewide protests.