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Friday, September 24, 2010

Joe Black ballfield dedication tomorrow

Plainfield sports legend Joe Black will finally get the hometown honor he deserves with the dedication of a ballfield in his name at the school district's Hub Stine Sports Complex on Randolph Road.

The following is a letter of invitation to the community to take part in this long-overdue recognition --

Dear Friends, 
Please join state and local elected officials, family of the late Joe Black and the Plainfield community as we name and dedicate the Joe Black Baseball Field at Hub Stine Sports Complex on Saturday, September 25 at 10:00 AM.

Joe graduated from Plainfield High School in 1942, where he was listed as the school's best athlete. He graduated from Morgan State College (now Morgan State University) and received a Master's Degree from Rutgers University. He began his professional baseball career in the Negro League with the Baltimore Elite Giants. He played in the Cuban league, the Montreal minor leagues. and with the Cincinati Reds and the Washington Senators. He made baseball history in 1952, when he beccame the first Black pitcher to win the World Series while playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. This accomplishment earned him the distinction of being selected National League Rookie of the Year for 1952. After a six-year career in professional baseball, Joe taught in the Plainfield public school system.

In 1962, Joe joined the Greyhound Corporation where he rose rapidly through the ranks and made corporate history by becoming the first Black vice president of a major transportation company. He used his influence to encourage and promote hiring practices of minorities and developing business relationships with minority-owned firms. Additionally, he initiated scholarship programs for disadvantaged youth at forty-two historically Black colleges.

Joe's contributions to sports education, business and the community are too numerous to list. He made an impression on everyone he met and though he could sometimes be tough on people who looked to him as a role model, he explained that in order to succeed, today's Black youth have to be better than average. His favorite saying, which he often imparted to family and friends, was to encourage them to "keep on keeping on."

Please join us as we pay tribute to our local hometown hero as we dedicate the ballfields in his honor. A book signing will immediately follow the ceremonhy with accomplished author at attorney, a former student of Black's and author of the recently released book, "Meet the Real Joe Black."

Phyllis Black Greer
(Joe's sister)

I have been told that although the formal dedication will take place Saturday, the school district will not install a plaque until the baseball season opens next spring.


Saturday, September 25 | 10:00 AM

Hub Stine Sports Complex
Randolph Road
(across from Muhlenberg)

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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