Negro Leagues Researchers and Authors Group
In 2000, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum received a grant from Major League Baseball to fund an external study on the full history of African-American baseball. Following an open Call for Proposals, multiple submissions were received and the Negro Leagues Researchers and Authors Group (NLRAG), under the coordination of Larry Hogan, Larry Lester, and Dick Clark, was selected to produce this variety of researchers, historians and writers to produce several comprehensive documents.
The first was a lengthy manuscript and bibliography covering the African-American baseball story from the Civil War into the 1960s. The manuscript was then condensed into a popular history volume, Shades of Glory, which was published by National Geographic in 2006.
The second was an exhaustive database of game statistics covering the period of 1920 to 1948. Although Negro Leagues Baseball continued league play throughout the fifties, the final data year, 1948, was chosen because it was the last year of the Negro World Series, as newspaper coverage of league play declined significantly with media focus on Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby and other Negro Leaguers breaking in to Major League Baseball.
Under the direction of Larry Lester, Wayne Stivers and Dick Clark, more than 25 researchers culled through more than 345 different newspapers to identify boxscores for Negro Leagues Baseball games. This data was then catalogued so that game-by-game and year-by-year data could be reviewed and analyzed. The cumulative data resulted in more than 9,500 pages of information containing hitting and pitching statistics for more than 6,000 players. This database serves as the foundation for the Negro Leagues Baseball statistics seen here.
NLRAG Boxscore Contributors:
Gary Ashwill – Durham, NC
Carlos Bauer – San Diego, CA
Todd Bolton – Smithsburg, MD
Adrian Burgos - Champaign, IL
Dick Clark – Ypsilanti, MI
Dominick Denaro - Cleveland, OH
Michael Everett – Linwood, NJ
Tom Garrett – Suffolk, VA
Peter Gorton – Minneapolis, MN
Leslie Heaphy – North Canton, OH
Larry Hogan – Fanwood, NJ
John Holway - Springfield, VA
Lou Hunsinger – Williamsport, PA
Dwayne Isgrig – St. Louis, MO
Tony Kissel – Cortland, NY
Ted Knorr – Harrisburg, PA
Jeremy Krock - Peoria, IL
Tim Joyce – New York, NY
Neil Lanctot - King of Prussia, PA
Larry Lester – Raytown, MO
Jerry Malloy – Mundelein, IL
Dan Nathan –Baltimore, MD
Jim Overmyer – Lenox, MA
Todd Peterson – Kansas City, MO
Bill Plott – Wilton, AL
Patrick Rock – Overland Park, KS
John Schwartz – Rochester, NY
Wayne Stivers – Plano, IL
Gregg Truitt – Hockessin, DE
Description and Criteria (NBHFM)
Unfortunately, there are no official statistical sources for Negro Leagues Baseball. Much of the game-by-game detail was lost or seldom reported in the years following the demise of these leagues. However, during the past several decades there have been several attempts to collect and rebuild these statistics, mainly using data supplied by boxscores and game accounts published in the many African-American newspapers which existed during the past century. Unfortunately, due to the existence of multiple leagues, and team schedules which regularly included barnstorming and exhibition events, there is no general agreement on what should and should not be counted. Therefore, each of the data sets will contain different information, all premised upon the criteria established by the group or individuals involved.
For purposes of this database, the Negro League Researchers and Authors Group established a strict set of criteria for inclusion on this data set. Data is only included for league sanctioned games from 1920 to 1948 for which a published boxscore or credible scorebook existed. Statistics gleaned from game accounts alone without a supporting boxscore were not included in this study. Other games are acknowledged as being part of the African-American baseball story, but the data is not included here.
This dataset includes information from the following leagues Negro National League (NNL), Negro American League (NAL), American Negro League (ANL), East-West League (EWL), Negro Southern League (NSL), and the Eastern Colored League (ECL). Game data includes league games, all-star, playoff and World Series games.
Some years we found every box score listed in the league schedule. Other years, less than 50% of the scheduled games were located. The year 1948 was determined to be the last year for the study because it was the last year of a sanctioned, official World Series.
This data led to a special Hall of Fame election class in 2006.
Go to Baseball-Reference.org to learn how these statistics contributed to their even larger data set and to see all of the statistics.