This week, the biggest story to arise was MLB announcement it would officially consider the seven professional Negro League that ran from 1920 until 1948 to be official major leagues. On the surface, it’s a decision that feels long overdue and many were quick to applaud MLB for the move.
In today’s links I’m going to share a lot of thoughts on this move from white writers, because white writers are among the most heavily employed in sports, and it certainly makes sense that they would talk about such a monumental change.
However before I share their links I think it’s vastly more important to share (and for all of us to read) the thoughts of Black baseball writers on the subject, because as a white writer myself there is a disconnect from the history, the emotion, and the underlying meaning of this change.
So I’m going to spotlight those stories and videos first, and then get into the rest of the post.
- Clinton Yates reminds us this wasn’t a problem in search of a solution, as the Negro Leagues were never lesser, and did not need to be “elevated.”
- Andrea Williams posted not one but TWO threads well worth diving into on Twitter.
Re today's announcement from @MLB, I wanna add that while it's great they're *finally* recognizing the Negro Leagues with Major League status, adding Negro League players to official Major League records does little to remedy the full damage caused by this enduring slight.— Andrea Williams (@AndreaWillWrite) December 16, 2020
This is SUPER important, & I def agree that the Negro Leagues weren't the Major Leagues. They were wholly separate, wholly self-contained and self-sustained.— Andrea Williams (@AndreaWillWrite) December 16, 2020
BUT, it's important that Black ball be considered "major league" by MLB—and it aint cause of how the white folk feel. https://t.co/VpD5sqjNkh
- Likewise Cory Frontin’s thoughts are important to read.
this is not shade at @MarkArmour04 whose work on the subject is excellent, but it really says something about society that it's again a white-led enterprise to "determine" if negro leaguers were "major leaguers" https://t.co/K9IzDSnuPs— Cory Frontin (@coryfrontin) December 15, 2020
- Assistant Professor Dr. Louis Moore gives us a valuable breakdown in this video.
- And Sean Gibson, great-grandson of one of the best hitters in history Josh Gibson, talks about his great-grandfather’s legacy.
And now, onto the rest of links.
- At FanGraphs, Jay Jaffe discusses the complications of the decision to make this major change to major league history.
- Jared Diamond writes about the new change for the Wall Street Journal.
- Over at The New York Times, Tyler Kepner views the change as MLB righting a wrong.
- Ben Lindbergh says that MLB is just recognizing what was always true: the Negro Leagues were always major league.
- And Matt Snyder answers one of the most common questions: will Josh Gibson become the new home run king, now?
- Ray Sanchez and Dan Kamal spoke to a former Negro Leagues player, Ron Teasley, about the change.
I wanted the major focus of today’s links to be on this news, but I also don’t want these other stories to be missed going into the weekend, so here are a few more good links to round out your Friday.
- Sports Illustrated debate some new name options for Cleveland.
- Eno Sarris wonders which baseball players are the most popular... and why? (The Athletic subscription required.)
- The MLB.com staff have a discussion about what the Rockies should do with Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story.
- Emma Baccellieri asks an expert why this offseason’s glacial pace has felt especially difficult.
- Craig Edwards offers us two easy ways to make baseball better.
- And Marc Normandin suggests MLB and the MLBPA need to get their issues sorted out now, before we hit the 2021 season without essential answers. (Baseball Prospectus Premium required.)
- Daren Willman, who frequently makes art of baseball stats, has gone full Jackson Pollock today.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.