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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Plainfield's Joe Black finally gets his due, thanks to Board of Ed

Ball fields at Hub Stine will be named after baseball legend.

Plainfield sports legend and baseball Hall of Famer Joe Black finally gets his due in his hometown.

In a walk-on item at last night's Board of Ed business meeting, a resolution was unanimously adopted naming the baseball fields at Hub Stine after the late hero and renaming the entire assemblage of facilities (which also includes the Donald Van Blake Tennis Courts) the Hub Stine Sports Complex.

In one fell swoop the Board of Ed cured the embarrassment the Queen City suffered when it came to light that the City's Recreation Division failed to execute a 2004 Council resolution naming the Rock Avenue ball fields after Black, the first African-American to pitch a winning World Series game (see here).

Here are some highlights from the resolution --
...Joe Black brought pride to himself, his family and his community by his myriad accomplishments which include playing baseball for the Negro League Team in Baltimore, Maryland for many years; being named National League 'Rookie of the Year' in 1952 when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers; and being the first African-American to pitch a winning World Series game, also in 1952, against the New York Yankees.

After leaving baseball, Joe Black taught physical education in the Plainfield Public Schools for several years and thereby impacted many young people with his display of intellect, dignity and humanity. He later joined corporate America and rose to the level of Vice President of the Greyhound Bus Company. Joe Black's life example is worthy and deserving of being honored, remembered and passed on to future generations...
Black's nephew, Jason Greer, had appeared before the City Council on July 12, asking for some resolution of the long-promised memorialization of his late uncle, saying that the repeated starts and stops have been stressful on his mother, Phyllis Greer, who is the late baseball hero's sister.

Let's hope the Board of Ed and other city officials arrange an appropriate marker and ceremony to bring this matter to a final, fitting close.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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