Negro Leagues Get Well Deserved Attention

It is a subject matter that is ingrained deep inside of the i70baseball history. St. Louis and Kansas City both played important roles in both segregated and desegregated baseball. The history of the Negro Leagues lays deep inside of Kansas City, more than most any city in the nation.


Consistently, the long lasting issue of the National Negro League has been the lack of accurate statistics. There has simply been little way of telling what actually happened.

Among the injustices visited upon the ballplayers of the Negro leagues, the lack of a statistical record of their accomplishments might not leap out as one of the worst; but it has proved one of the most lasting. The Negro National League was founded in 1920; it has taken 91 years to find out for sure that Cristóbal Torriente was the batting champion, that Sam Crawford struck out the most batters, that Dave Brown compiled the best ERA, Pete Hill collected the most walks, and Oscar Charleston garnered the most win shares. – Micheal Lynch,

As of this morning, the website has made a major announcement concerning this material, this injustice, and their desire to bring some of the nation’s best players back to the forefront of our minds.

We at and The Baseball Gauge have an exciting announcement to make regarding a new feature we launched this morning – The Negro Leagues Database, powered by The Baseball Gauge (

We are creating the first comprehensive statistical encyclopedia of the great black baseball teams and leagues that operated behind the color line in the days of Jim Crow segregation. The database also collects a vast amount of biographical information about these players, much of it previously unpublished.

Lynch was complimentary of the people that put in long hours to bring this project to fruition and focused on letting fans know just what they can expect when they delve into the database.

Many thanks and much credit should go to Gary Ashwill, Scott Simkus, Kevin Johnson and Dan Hirsch for putting this together. Gary compiled all the statistics for the seasons we’re starting with and he and Scott have done a fantastic job chronicling the Negro Leagues at their respective websites, “Agate Type” and “Outsider Baseball Bulletin.” In fact, according to my friend and Major League Baseball’s official historian, John Thorn, “Gary Ashwill and Scott Simkus are the class of the field these days.” Kevin has also written extensively about the Negro Leagues and created some fantastic databases in his own right, and Dan is the coding genius who puts it all on the site. Even if you’re a Negro league aficionado, you’ll find something new here, from unknown great teams to unknown good pitchers to unexpectedly bad hitters.

This is the beginning of the project, which will grow by leaps and bounds in the near future.

Here at the beginning of our project, we’re presenting four seasons of pre-Negro league play, 1916 to 1919, and the first three seasons of Rube Foster’sNegro National League, 1920 to 1922. You’ll see the likes of Oscar Charleston and Cristóbal Torriente at their very best, as well as two-way star Bullet Rogan. We’ve also got nine seasons of the Cuban Winter League, from a slightly earlier era (1905 to 1913). Cuban pro ball was racially integrated, and featured some of the very best African American ballplayers of the time, like Cyclone Joe Williams, John Henry Lloyd, and Pete Hill. So these numbers give us a rare glimpse of these players in their prime.

We are in the act of putting this encyclopedia together; it’s very much a work in progress, which we’ll be adding to little by little, game by game, season by season. Along with additional seasons Gary has nearly ready – the database will soon be expanded to include Major League and Negro League exhibition series from 1904 through 1915 and pre-Negro Leagues data from 1908 through 1915 – other researchers will be chiming in with their work soon as well. So check back frequently as we post new years and new information. Watch the all-time leader boards change and Hall of Famers’ careers gradually take shape in a way nobody has seen before.

As a special thank you to the loyal readers of Seamheads and to sites like i70baseball for helping to spread the word, Lynch including this free copy of Outsider Baseball Bulletin for our readers.

Bill Ivie hosts Gateway To Baseball Heaven every Sunday night at 930 p.m. Central Time on the Seamheads National Podcast Network.

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