Major League Baseball is finally recognizing the Negro Leagues, which operated from 1920 to 1948, in their official record books, commissioner Rob Manfred announced, Wednesday.

MLB, Negro LeaguesThos Robinson / Getty Images

“All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations, and triumphs against a backdrop of injustice,” Manfred said in a statement. “We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as major leaguers within the official historical record.”

The change will now include 3,400 new players incorporated in the MLB record books.

A ruling from MLB’s Special Baseball Records Committee in 1968 decided to not include the Negro Leagues, but the all-white voting board chose to include five other leagues with a level of play “far lower” than that of the Negro Leagues, according to The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh.

MLB’s statement describes the decision as one “long overdue.”

John Thorn, the Official Historian of Major League Baseball, said in the press release: “The perceived deficiencies of the Negro Leagues’ structure and scheduling were born of MLB’s exclusionary practices, and denying them Major League status has been a double penalty, much like that exacted of Hall of Fame candidates prior to Satchel Paige’s induction in 1971. Granting MLB status to the Negro Leagues a century after their founding is profoundly gratifying.”

[Via]