Publish date:

Stars Aligned

In December, Major League Baseball made a long overdue announcement: Players active in the Negro leagues from 1920 to ’48, before the sport’s integration took hold, are now recognized as major leagues. The move will rewrite parts of the record book and could eventually make some families eligible for big league pensions. And now some of the game’s greatest talents have what they’ve always deserved—an equal, exalted place in baseball’s historical firmament
Author:
ELECTRIC SLIDE
Josh Gibson (crossing the plate during a Negro leagues All-Star Game in 1944) may well be the best power-hitting catcher—any league, any era. He was known as the Black Babe Ruth, though some who saw him play refer to the Bambino as the white Josh Gibson.

ELECTRIC SLIDE: Josh Gibson (crossing the plate during a Negro leagues All-Star Game in 1944) may well be the best power-hitting catcher—any league, any era. He was known as the Black Babe Ruth, though some who saw him play refer to the Bambino as the white Josh Gibson.

AVERAGE HERO 
According to his Hall of Fame plaque, Gibson hit almost 800 career home runs. That will be hard to confirm, but once MLB verifies his .441 average in 1943, Gibson will own the highest single-season mark in big league history.

AVERAGE HERO According to his Hall of Fame plaque, Gibson hit almost 800 career home runs. That will be hard to confirm, but once MLB verifies his .441 average in 1943, Gibson will own the highest single-season mark in big league history.

DO LOOK BACK
Between 1948 and ’52, a past-his-prime Satchel Paige (with the Kansas City Monarchs, c. 1940) won 28 games in the American League. With his Negro leagues victories counted as official stats, his major league career total will grow to at least 170.

DO LOOK BACK Between 1948 and ’52, a past-his-prime Satchel Paige (with the Kansas City Monarchs, c. 1940) won 28 games in the American League. With his Negro leagues victories counted as official stats, his major league career total will grow to at least 170.

CROWD-PLEASERS
If the Negro leagues lacked big league status, it was in name only: The Homestead Grays, who split time between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., drew huge crowds at Forbes Field (pictured, with Robert Gaston hitting in 1942) and Griffith Stadium.

CROWD-PLEASERS If the Negro leagues lacked big league status, it was in name only: The Homestead Grays, who split time between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., drew huge crowds at Forbes Field (pictured, with Robert Gaston hitting in 1942) and Griffith Stadium.