Born on February 8, 1924 in Plainfield, New Jersey; right-handed pitcher Joe Black possessed a power fastball and natural slider. Black pitched with the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro National League (1943 -1950) while finishing college (Morgan State) and then was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers.
As a 26 years old Major League rookie, Black pitched in relief for Dodgers in 1952. His former Elite Giant teammate Roy Campanella was the Dodgers’ catcher. Black won 15 games; he also saved 15 and received the 1952 National League Rookie of the Year award.
To Black’s surprise, Dodgers’ manager Chuck Dressen chose him to be the starting pitcher against the New York Yankees in Game One of the World Series. Black had only started two games during the regular season. He responded by becoming the first African-American pitcher to win a World Series game beating the Yankees 4 – 2. However, Black lost Game Four 2 – 0 and Game Seven 4 – 2. He finished the Series with a 2.15 ERA, lowest of all Dodger starting pitchers.
After a six-year Major League career (1952 – 1957) in which he was 30 – 12, Black worked in business becoming a vice president at the Greyhound Corporation.
Learn more about the Negro League Baseball Era Last Train To Cooperstown