Josh Gibson Crowned MLB Batting Champ

Josh Gibson on right

Nearly 80 years after his passing, Josh Gibson, often dubbed the “Black Babe Ruth,” may now be recognized as “the greatest hitter in baseball history” following a significant decision by Major League Baseball (MLB) to incorporate Negro League players into its esteemed record books.

For seven decades, the MLB enforced a discriminatory policy barring Black players from participating in American or National League teams. Though no official rule explicitly banned Black players, an unspoken agreement among club owners and MLB commissioner Kenesaw Landis effectively excluded talented Negro League players until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.

Sean Gibson, the great-grandson of baseball legend Josh Gibson

Even after Robinson’s breakthrough, numerous Negro League stars, including Larry Doby, Roy Campanella, and Willie Mays, went on to achieve stardom in the Majors. However, despite their undeniable talent, many early Negro League icons did not receive the recognition they deserved from mainstream sports fans.

In a historic move, MLB officially integrated Negro League statistics into its record books, following recommendations from the independent Negro League Statistical Review Committee. This decision means legendary players from the Negro Leagues will now replace some of the most renowned names in Major League history.


For instance, Josh Gibson now holds the title of the all-time leader in career batting average with a remarkable .372, surpassing the previous record held by Ty Cobb. Additionally, Gibson claims the top spot in career slugging percentage and OPS (on-base plus slugging), as well as all-time single-season records in these categories, surpassing iconic figures like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Joining Gibson, a total of 2,299 Negro League players will be incorporated into a comprehensive database on, merging their stats with those from the American and National Leagues throughout history. This means that legends such as Satchel Paige, Oscar Charleston, and Turkey Steearnes will finally receive the recognition they deserve alongside other MLB icons.

The decision to integrate Negro League statistics has sparked controversy, with detractors dismissing it as “woke propaganda.” However, historical evidence suggests otherwise. Negro League teams frequently competed against Major League teams in exhibition games, with Black players boasting a winning percentage of nearly 57.1% against their white counterparts, as documented in John B. Holway’s seminal work “The Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History.”

This compelling data supports the notion that Negro League players were not only equal to but often excelled beyond Major League standards, affirming the significance of MLB’s decision to honor their legacy.