Black was born February 8, 1924 in Plainfield, New Jersey and won a baseball scholarship to Morgan State University where he graduated in 1950. Black was called up to the major leagues in 1952 and was chosen National League Rookie of the Year after winning 15 games and saving 15 others. That year was the highlight of his five year major league career and he retired with a record of 30 wins and 12 losses.
After his playing career in baseball ended, Black worked in the baseball commissioner’s office advising players on career choices and became an executive with the Greyhound Bus Company. Black died May 17, 2002 and his biography, “Meet the Real Joe Black,” was published in 2010.