Black Stats Matter

Integrating Negro League Numbers into Major League Records


In stock

About the Book

For more than half a century, Black baseball players, barred from the Major Leagues by systemic racism, competed in leagues of their own. This book re-interprets the history of race in baseball from the ground up. It tells the story of how the Major Leagues became the “Caucasian Leagues,” and names the person most responsible for their segregation; showing how Major League owners and executives tried to delay and even prevent integration; and proving, using a broad range of methods, that Negro League players were every inch the equals of their Major League counterparts. Cherished records held by white players since the days of segregation are shown to belong rightfully to Negro League superstars. This book takes a fresh look at a subject that’s both straight from today’s headlines and as old as baseball itself.

About the Author(s)

Philip Lee worked with children with special needs in the U.S. and U.K. for 23 years before turning to writing. A teacher of chess and other strategy games, he holds degrees in history and education.

Bibliographic Details

Philip Lee
Foreword by Larry Lester
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 375
Bibliographic Info: 31 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8834-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4701-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

A Note on Abbreviations vi
Foreword by Larry Lester 1
Introduction: Statistical Justice 3
Part I. Arguments
1. “Disgraceful Baseball” 11
2. What Constitutes a Major League? 31
3. The Dam Trickles Open 39
4. Statistical Variance Across Leagues and Eras 54
5. Mr. James’s 23 Tests 65
6. Arguments Against Statistical Integration 86
7. ­Re-Writing the Record Books 96
8. Josh Gibson vs. Ruthsrecord 103
9. Monte Irvin: Half in One World, Half in Another 106
10. Willard Brown: The Chance That Wasn’t a Chance 109
11. Roy Campanella: The Fallacy of Equivalency 113
12. Luke Easter: The Toughest Case to Prove 125
13. Larry Doby: ­Five-Tool Superstar 141
14. The Greatest 147
15. My Inner Circle: The Top 73 Players in American Baseball History 157
16. Two Down, One to Go 164
17. Wrapup: What’s Fair Is Fair 167
A Personal Postscript 168
Part II. Reference
18. Negro Leaguers in the Hall of Fame 173
19. Negro Leagues ­All-Time Teams 175
20. The Negro Leagues ­All-Star Register 177
21. A Proposed Major Leagues Organizational Chart 269
22. A Proposed Negro Leagues Team Roster 273
23. Negro League and Early MLB Team Failures 285
24. Negro Leaguers Who Played in the Majors 298
25. Short Notes on Diverse Subjects 305
26. A Long Note: Major League Baseball vs. the Truth 315
Acknowledgments 327
An Open Letter to Atlanta’s Ownership and Management 329
Chapter Notes 331
Bibliography 345
Index 359

Book Reviews & Awards

• “One of the best baseball books ever. Well researched and also well written, Black Stats Matter is right up there with The Bill James Historical Abstract and Outsider Baseball on my personal list. Lee covers almost all of what I would consider the important topics that have been neglected in most Negro League writing.”—Kevin Johnson, co-founder of the Seamheads Negro Leagues Database

• “Master Lee brilliantly gives credentials to the Black inhabitants of the baseball planet, taking us on a connect-the-dots journey never published before…Lee’s body of work will forever be a topic of conversation and debate as sports fans evolve their thought processes in the acceptance of Negro League players as Major League talents.”—Larry Lester, author Baseball’s First Colored World Series: The 1924 Meeting of the Hilldale Giants and Kansas City Monarchs

• “Philip Lee’s Black Stats Matter lays to rest once and for all the false narrative that white ‘Major League’ baseball between 1876 and 1946 was superior to the Negro Leagues. Through careful analysis of American, National, and seven Negro Leagues statistics, Lee forcefully demonstrates over and over the equality of the Blackball circuits while debunking a myriad of tired old myths, such as that of MLB owners never formally banning Black players (spoiler alert: they did). The author also profiles several All-Time Negro Leagues stars and makes a convincing Hall of Fame case for forgotten home run king Luscious Luke Easter. Thoroughly researched and brilliantly written, Black Stats Matter is a witty, moving account of the tragedy and triumph that was segregated Black baseball.”—Todd Peterson, editor, The Negro Leagues Were Major Leagues

• “Philip Lee clearly lays out the history, the arguments, the facts as we now know them…and reaches a conclusion that, quibble with the details as you like, results logically from the author’s deep research and thoughtful analysis. This is the book I’ve been waiting for.”—Rob Neyer, author of Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game