Baseball-Reference.com Now Updated With Negro League Statistics
BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM NOW UPDATED WITH NEGRO LEAGUE STATISTICS
by Mike Whiteman
July 5, 2021
As regular readers may know, the Negro Leagues are a passion of mine. I’ve greatly enjoyed researching and sharing about them in previous SSTN articles.
There is such a special and tragic history to the Negro Leagues, a journey of over a century which culminated in the stunning news last year that seven Negro Leagues were elevated to Major League Baseball status. It was a proud day particularly for the families of players who are now considered major leaguers.
Recently, the iconic website baseball-reference.com loaded Negro League stats, originally compiled at the Seamheads website (https://www.seamheads.com/NegroLgs/) in the format we know and enjoy as researchers and fans.
One thing to note: the statistics provided are only for league play. Josh Gibson’s page won’t show “almost 800 home runs” like his Hall of Fame plaque states. Satchel Paige’s 118-80 record isn’t the “hundreds” of wins as on his plaque, but his 2.19 career ERA and 152 ERA-plus are pretty special.
Some interesting new links to check out:
1. I would recommend readers start at this spot, with a number of informative articles by influential figures within the research and Negro League community.
2. Speaking of Josh Gibson, just look at his page. What a dominating hitter.
3. There is a new single season batting average standard:
4. Monte Irvin is a Hall of Famer and was a really good player with the New York Giants and Chicago Cubs. Prior to his Giants debut in 1949, he was an elite player with the Newark Eagles and led them to the 1946 Negro League World Series championship. That season he played shortstop and formed a Hall of Fame keystone combo with second sacker Larry Doby.
5. Those Eagles were an excellent team, one of the best of all time. Who was the best Negro League team ever? Well, there is no shortage of candidates, but I’ve got a soft spot for the 1934 Pittsburgh Crawfords, who won the Negro National League II flag on the strength of five players who were eventually Cooperstown bound.
6. Do you like Shohei Ohtani? You’ll love Bullet Rogan.
7. Oscar Charleston’s age 23-30 seasons: .384/.467/.681. He was also a pretty good manager, guiding his teams to three pennants.
8. While exhaustive efforts by researchers have compiled a significant amount of statistical data, there is still some missing. Here is a rundown of the data coverage:
9. I have often thought of the ERA+ stat as a quick way to evaluate and compare pitchers historically. Of the top ten of all time, four spent much/all of their career in the Negro Leagues.
10. What Negro League team most resembles the Yankees from a historical standpoint? I’d guess the Kansas City Monarchs, first place finishers in 14 of their 29 seasons of league play.
The Negro Leagues are a new frontier in baseball history. If you have a bit of time, I definitely recommend exploring the site and the new Negro League content.