Oct. 1, 2018

Morgan State University Homecoming Moment

October 1, 1952

The Joseph Black Fall Classic

Something that history can’t replace is Game One of the 1952 Major League World Series and the performance of Mr. Joseph Black on October 1, 1952, facing the powerful New York Yankees.  Joe Black, Class of 1950, Morgan State College became the very first black pitcher to win a World Series on that fall afternoon. Joe Black faced 33 New York Yankees that afternoon, a lineup that included Hall of Famers, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto.  Joe Black shut down the Yankee machine that day only allowing 6 base hits and striking out 6 Yankees.  Joe Black was simply marvelous that afternoon at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn, New York.  

Joe Black pitched on a baseball scholarship for the Morgan State College Grizzlies, while at Morgan State College, Joe Black pledged Omega Phi Psi Fraternity and he graduated from Morgan State College in the Spring Class of 1950. Remember this Joe Black while at Morgan State College starred for the Baltimore Elite Giants in the Negro Baseball League. During those 7 years he pitched for the Elite Giants, the team won 2 Negro League Championships. So Joe Black was 28 years old when he pitched on that October 1 afternoon. Just like many of our past ancestors, he was forbidden to play in the major leagues due to the white man’s racist color line. I wanna say also that my mom and dad named me after Joseph Black I think.

For a time, Joe Black a physical education teacher after he left baseball in his hometown of Plainfield, New Jersey. After the civil rights bill was passed Joe Black became a corporate executive with the Greyhound Bus Company. He remained allied with baseball in his later years working in the Commissioner’s Office, as well as working in community activities with the Arizona Diamondbacks. On May 17, 2002, at the age of 78, Joe Black died due to complications from cancer. Joe Black may not have won 300 games in the Major Leagues, he also may not have won a Cy Young, or a Most Valuable Player Award but in the annals of baseball history, Joe Black has a first. The “very” first black player to win a World Series game on this date, 66 years ago.  Joe Black exhibited Morgan Excellence not only on the field of play but throughout his illustrious life. So today’s Morgan State University Homecoming moment highlights the great Joseph Black, Class of 1950.