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Joe Black Dies of Cancer at 78

May 17, 2002

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PHOENIX (AP) _ Joe Black, the Brooklyn Dodgers right-hander who became the first black pitcher to win a World Series game, died Friday of prostate cancer. He was 78.

Black, in failing health for months, died at the Life Care Center of Scottsdale.

Black beat the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the 1952 World Series, five years after teammate Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. Black also lost twice in the series, Games 4 and 7.

That capped a notable first season, in which he had a 15-4 record, 2.15 ERA and won the NL Rookie of the Year award.

Black, who was 28 when he broke into the major leagues after seven years with the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues, pitched five more seasons with the Dodgers, the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Senators, posting a 30-12 record and 3.91 ERA. He won 10 straight games at the start of the 1955 season, a record at the time.

Black roomed with Robinson while with Brooklyn, and pushed for a pension plan for Negro Leagues players and was instrumental in the inclusion of players who played before 1947.

Black worked for the Greyhound Corp. in Phoenix until retirement. He was a board director of the Baseball Assistance Team, a consultant for major league baseball and worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks in community relations.

A native of Plainfield, N.J., he graduated from Morgan State College in 1950 and later received an honorary doctorate from Shaw University.

He is survived by son Joseph ``Chico″ Black and a daughter, Martha.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete, but his son, said Black would be cremated, with a memorial service in New Jersey.

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