Negro League Baseball (Black Baseball)

Negro League Baseball (Black Baseball)




On this page now resides a fairly-comprehensive Negro Leagues/Black Baseball Register. OBL (Open Baseball League) rules set minimums of 10(+) Plate Appearances (PA) or 9(+) Innings Pitched — in any one season — for any player to be included within the OBL. Consequently, many historical Major-League Baseball (MLB) and Negro League Baseball (NLB) players didn’t make the “cut”; thousands of players — between MLB and NLB — didn’t make enough official game appearances to qualify for this replay/simulation project. Another OBL requirement is simply having a “full name” (two names, or at least initials [plural] and a surname) to identify a player as an authentic individual in time, and on a MLB/NLB ballfield. Here again, all of those designated as simply, “Jones” or “Smith” or “L.J.” or “J. Williams” will not be found in RetroPlay player directories, registers, or rankings. All of this is to explain that while every player that could be found is listed at the Negro Leagues Database, only qualified players will be listed here; so this directory will necessarily be narrower than the Seamheads, state-of-the-art version, but broader than the NLB portion posted at HUGE CAP TIP: Long before recognized and included 7 leagues’ worth of Negro League players as MLB players, the folks at Seamheads were painstakingly gathering NLB data into an unsurpassed NLB database, upon which I relied nearly 100%. [It’s my understanding that one of the principals/founders — Dan Hirsch — moved to Baseball-Reference from Seamheads/The Baseball Gauge over a year ago and has taken his data with him; it seems that it’s his data, primarily, that is now featured at Baseball-Reference. This link should help explain what I’m talking about, but I do miss “The Gauge”]

Important note of grateful recognition: I urge you to remember that without the Negro Leagues Database, I’d have never been able to flesh-out a major portion of this long-time dream project, and its creators and website “curators” deserve a slew of thank-yous, IMO. Watch for my humble offerings that lean so heavily on what they’ve done at Seamheads to appear from time to time on this page.

[3/21/22 Insertion: With the comprehensive 18.855-player directory now “etched in stone,” all of the component files/sub-directories that fed into that macro-file will be reviewed for possible errors and/or discrepancies in the coming days/weeks. The data on this page may or may not be affected, but any changes made — if deemed necessary — will be made with notification.]

NEWLY UPLOADED 2/25/2022: NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL (NLB) REGISTER ( version; 1,686 recognized and qualified players total). Following website conventions, the Excel version is on top, and the PDF version is just below that (either format = 20 pages). They are both free-download opportunities at this time, though that may change if/when hard-copy publishing plans come to fruition.

Next, we’ve got a “two-fer” (free) deal below; two files in one Excel or PDF “scroll.” The first 38 pages of either version are NLB players (both NLB-only and NLB-MLB players) ranked in primary position groups by RetroPlay Rating and Career WAR. The 39th page is the icing on the cake: Offered there is our Top 25/All-NLB (only) team. Criteria: the 10 best pitchers; 2 best catchers; 2 best first-basemen; 4 best middle-infielders (2b/SS); 2 best third-basemen; 4 best outfielders; and the incomparable multi-position superstar, Martin Dihigo, all 25 of whom never had the opportunity to play in the American Major leagues (as defined in their playing days, and all the way up until 2020). So this is, in effect, the NLB-ONLY All-star/All-time team according to RPR.

[Notes on middle-infielders: going by RPR and any other performance metrics that might be used, there’s apparently quite a drop-off from any of our four shortstops (primarily) and the top “pure” second-baseman, Bingo DeMoss (89 RPR; Wells comes in at 366, Moore at 313, Lloyd at 297, and Lundy at 211). Because 1) most MLB-caliber shortstops can handle second base successfully (one step down the “defensive spectrum,” so generally regarded as a less-demanding position to play) — a premise that is consistently a part of the thinking throughout this RetroPlay system, and 2) “Pop” Lloyd DID play over 250 NLB/NLB vs. MLB games at 2b and “King Richard” Lundy DID record 38 games played in the Negro Leagues at 2b, the thought here is that many/most managers of this All-Star squad would prefer to have Lloyd and Lundy at 2b, rather than DeMoss and Bonnie Serrell (58 RPR); wouldn’t you?]

With all that having been said, here are the Excel (top) and PDF versions of the NLB by-position rankings:

Next up, we have NLB Career War rankings and NLB RetroPlay Rating (RPR) rankings in side-by-side scrolls. Once again, Excel version is first, PDF second; 39 pages, either way:

One last addition for this February 25, 2022 update: Have you ever been curious about where the historic Negro Leagues players came from, or more accurately, where they were born? Well, here you go; a register of NLB players arranged by birthplaces (within regions), in Excel (top) and PDF (bottom) “scroll” versions:

With these 2/25/22 and 3/21/22 updates, the data and all the tools to work with the data are in place. A page-header logo — first version — has just been added. To my knowledge, what you’ll find here on this site and on this page is a unique compilation; nobody else has assembled it all, and in the same way. So explore the content, catch up with some history, and feed your imagination about what might have been.