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Negro Leagues statistics incorporated into MLB records; Josh Gibson becomes MLB batting leader

Paterson’s Hinchliffe Stadium played a large part in the Negro Leagues for many years.

Chris Keating

May 30, 2024, 10:27 PM

Updated 24 days ago

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Major League Baseball has decided to combine their players statistics with those who played in the Negro Leagues.
Some of those teams had roots in Paterson. The city was home to the New York Black Yankees from 1933-1945, playing their games at Hinchliffe Stadium. The Newark Eagles and New York Cubans also played many of their games at the stadium.
Players like Larry Doby played for the Newark Eagles, Roy Campanella played for the Washington Elite Giants and Josh Gibson played for the Homestead Grays.
The faces of these Negro League players hang from the rafters inside the Charles J. Muth Museum at the stadium. That museum pays homage to those Negro League greats.
They all played games at this stadium. And now all of their base hits, stolen bases and RBIs will be included among major leaguers.
“I don’t know if they wanted it, I think they were proud of what they did and the product they put on the field, but I think yes they’d appreciate it,” says Larry Doby, Jr.
In 1947, Doby's father became the second player to break the color barrier behind Jackie Robinson when he joined the Cleveland Indians and would eventually reach the Hall of Fame. He was also raised in Paterson.
Doby, Jr. is a baseball fan who knows the stats of the greats, saying, "I know four - 256 hits for Rose… 191 for Cobb…3,771 for Aaron.”
While he appreciates the validation, he says he doesn’t know that it was needed because these players considered themselves major leaguers.
“I hope that it merely just educates more people that these guys were good enough and the only reason you don’t know their names is because of segregation,” Doby, Jr. says.
Due to segregation, the Negro Leagues were formed in the 1920s and lasted into the 1950s, as Doby and Campanella made it to the Majors.
But Josh Gibson did not. The inclusion of his stats means Gibson is the all-time leader in batting average at .372 - now ahead of Ty Cobb. He also gets ahead of Babe Ruth in slugging percentage (.718).
Hinchliffe is also home to the New Jersey Jackals, where Minor League players are trying to make it to the majors.
Relief pitcher Ryan Vasquez says, “The fact that they’re getting the respect that they deserve I know that all of those people's families and loved ones will really appreciate what’s going on.”
“I think it’s awesome having those guys that played and are just as talented as other guys who didn’t get a chance to play I think it's a great thing for the game,” says centerfielder Bryson Parks.
Fans of baseball may debate the inclusion of these statistics, but one fan from Paterson believes it’s long overdue.
“I feel like this is a bit of poetic justice, especially since Josh Gibson, who hit a home run at Hinchliffe stadium, and now Major League Baseball has hit a homer for him and for history,” says Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
Major League Baseball says they’re bringing in the stats from more than 2,300 Negro League players.


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