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Negro League museum in Owings Mills praises MLB’s inclusion of statistics

By Jack Watson

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    OWINGS MILLS, Maryland (WMAR) — Whether on Eutaw Street or 33rd Street, Baltimore is, and always has been, a baseball town.

It only makes sense for Baltimore to have a museum dedicated to Negro League baseball.

In Owings Mills, curators of the Hubert V. Simmons Negro League museum discussed the major news out of Major League Baseball, Negro League statistics will now be included in the record books with all other major leaguers.

“I am still trying to digest the happiness that just took place,” Ray Banks, co-founder of the museum, told WMAR.

Banks, quite literally, wears his love of baseball and the Negro Leagues on his sleeves. His custom-made jersey commemorates the game’s history.

The museum was founded about 15 years ago, and today it is staggered on several floors of the Baltimore County Library in Owings Mills.

“I’m overjoyed. It’s about time. A lot of things are long time overdue. They’re finally just getting their just due right now,” Banks added.

Records tallied by more than 2,000 Negro League players will now join the Major League records. Cy Young’s numbers will be in the same spreadsheets as Satchel Paige’s.

“A lot of people knew of Satchel Paige, but they very rarely have heard of Leon Day,” Banks pointed out.

With the Balitmore Black Sox, the Elite Giants, and more, Balitmore’s contributions will be noteworthy. Leon Day, a right-handed pitcher and the namesake of a park in West Baltimore played here.

“His stats, the things he did will be also included,” Banks said.

Roy Campanella, another Elite Giant who went on to a Hall of Fame career catching for the Brooklyn Dodgers, is found in the museum as well.

Within the panes: a priceless preservation of the pastime’s past, honoring all who contributed to the Negro Leagues, men and women.

“I like going to different fairs because I always get the same question every time we set up an exhibit: do you mean women played? and I say yes, I always get the same response all the time,” Elmira Thornton, a museum volunteer, told WMAR.

Museum board member Derwin Whitehead is hopeful the news will bring renewed interest to young baseball fans.

“Any information that you give to the young folks will inspire them to put down the tablet, or even have the tablet, and pull up the information you didn’t have previously. It just brings a light to baseball in general,” Whitehead said.

The contributions these players made to our pastime is something we can’t forget. The exhibits in Owings Mills and folks dedicated to preserving this history help us remember.

An updated version of the Major League historical database is expected to be made public next week, as the Cardinals take on the Giants in Birmingham, AL, on June 20.

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