November 21, 1952
After Jackie Robinson won the inaugural Rookie of the Year award in 1947, the Dodgers became the franchise with the most winners of the award. On this date back in 1952, pitcher Joe Black became the third Dodger to win the award, following Robinson and Don Newcombe. Black was primarily a relief pitcher and finished the season 15-4 with a 2.15 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 56 appearances.
Black started two games, but mostly came on in relief. In addition to his 15 wins, he also had 15 saves and finished 41 games for the Dodgers. The right-hander was more of a long reliever, highlighted by his 142.1 innings of work in those 56 games. In one of the games that Black did start, he threw a complete game to show his all-around pitching prowess.
The Dodgers reached the World Series that year and Black saw his job change. In the seven game series, Black started Games 1,4 and 7. He won Game 1 to become the first black pitcher to win a playoff game; however, he would lose the other two games and the Dodgers lost the series.
The then 28-year-old came from the Negro Leagues and spent a season in the Dodgers’ minor league system before being called up in 1952. He roomed with Robinson in his time in Brooklyn. Black never quite matched his numbers from his rookie year and stayed with the Dodgers until he was traded to the Cincinnati Redlegs. The right-hander finished 22-7 with 20 saves in his Dodger career while his ERA ballooned the next couple few seasons and he left Brooklyn with a 3.45 ERA in 101 games.
After his career ended, he became a health and physical education teacher before becoming an executive for Greyhound. He also remained in baseball and was a consultant for younger players. In 2002, Black passed away due to complications from prostate cancer at the age of 78.
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