It’s been a long time coming, but Major League Baseball has finally included the statistics of the Negro League with MLB’s Statistics. By there having to be a Negro League in the first place, this was a step in the right direction. This decision was met with mixed reactions. If you ask me, it was to be expected. There is a sizable sect of people who prefer to separate the worlds of sports and politics. But time and time again, we’re reminded that can’t truly be possible. The Negro League was a thing because Black people weren’t allowed to play with white players in the majors. Due to this, and the MLB’s refusal to combine both league’s statistics, some surmise that the Negro League was inferior to the MLB.

This move made by the MLB has come with real results. It has effectively changed the history books for the league. With an average of .372, Josh Gibson now is the leader in all-time batting averages. That has now rendered Babe Ruth in second place. It’s this type of movement, of legendary figures that people didn’t want to “tarnish.” I say tarnish because the sport of baseball has always been viewed as America’s game. America isn’t primarily seen as a melting pot colloquially. When you hear America, you instinctively think “white.” To Black people, those two words seem synonymous. And it’s America that didn’t want this day to come.

Over the last few years, I have been listening to content about the history of the Negro league. I have also noticed, as a gamer, how MLB: The Show has included Negro League players in its most recent iterations of the video game. There has been a tangible and intentional shift in making sure that the complete story of baseball is told and appreciated. To no one’s surprise, I’m glad this day has come. The pushback, however, is not a surprise, but for a sport that heralds its tradition and history as much as it does, there isn’t a decision that has been more apropos in the last 30 years.

Pedro Sierra (L), who played for the Negro Leagues Indianapolis Clowns and Detroit Stars, presents former Detroit Tiger Barbaro Garbey with the ¡Fiesta Tigres! award on August 19, 2022. Photo: Duane Burleson via Getty Images

This move I also think is about endearing the game of baseball to more Black people again. Research shows that for 30 years, the MLB boasted about 40% Black players at the outfielder position. Since 2000, that number has declined below 30%. Latinos have taken the league over between now and then, and for many Black players coming up, they don’t seem to be dominating the sport that much. Including Negro League statistics allows young Black fans to be able to see themselves in the lineage of the game. They get to see just how great we’ve always been. I hope it’ll inspire them.

Regardless of the naysayers, this should be a moment of happiness for the game of baseball. It should also be noted that the number of descendants of Negro League players has reason to be excited as well. Their elders are now being properly recognized for the greatness they exhibited while under the worst societal atrocities. Although incremental, it’s decisions like these that I believe steer this country in a better direction. It’s not possible without knowledge and advocacy. Let that continue to be a message for all of us. Let’s not be passive beings in this life. Let’s make the good things happen.