Rob Parker remembers one of the greatest Black pitchers to ever toe the slab. Dwight Gooden’s 1985 Cy Young season remains one of the greatest individual seasons by a pitcher in MLB history. He’s definitely A Bro U Need To Know.
Since retiring, former MLB Black Knight CC Sabathia has a media and lifestyle brand named Roots of Fight which celebrates the improbable achievements of history’s most legendary athletes and their unique battle for greatness.
CC presented David Price with some special drip in the form of a sweatshirt and joggers. The logo has an Ace of spade between the two C’s with a B hovering over the Ace of Spade.
What’s A Black Ace?
The logo represents the Black Aces of MLB. That exclusive fraternity that hasn’t had a member enter since 2012 when Price went 20-5 for the Toronto Blue Jays. In many ways, Sabathia and Price are brothers beyond baseball and through their historical achievements have a unique bond that will tie them together in MLB lore.
“The term “Black Aces,” derived from the book, Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty-Game Winners, written by former major leaguer, and group member, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, the first African-American 20-game winner in the American League (Minnesota Twins, 1965) and the first African-American to win a World Series Game in the American League (1965).
The book is a historically accurate description of the lives of the thirteen African-American 20-game winners in the Majors that existed when the book was released in 2007.
The 15 Black Aces
Canadian-born Ferguson Jenkins won 20-games or more a remarkable seven times (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)
Bullet Bob Gibson did it five times (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970)
Dave Stewart did it four times (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)
Don Newcombe (1951, 1955 and 1956), and Vida Blue (1971, 1973, 1975) both won 20 or more games three times.
Dontrelle Willis (2005), CC Sabathia (2010), David Price (2012), Al Downing (1971), Dwight Gooden (1985), Sam Jones (1959), Mike Norris (1980), J.R. Richard (1976), Earl Wilson (1967) and of course, Mudcat Grant (1965) all did it once.
Respect Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart is the last Black pitcher to post multiple 20-win seasons. To put this into perspective, in the history of Major League Baseball only five black pitchers have eclipsed the 20 wins mark multiple times in a career.
Two of the five are in the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jenkins, who won more than 250 games in a 14-year career, and Gibson, who did it five times in a span of only six years. Gibson was so unhittable in 1968, that MLB lowered the mound to make it easier for hitters to deal with such Black dominance
Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who was the first black pitcher to ever win 20 (1951), and Vida Blue of the Oakland Athletics during the 1970s, each reached the achievement three times.
Price and CC are the last of MLB’s Black Aces.
Sabathia went 21-7 with the Yankees in 2010 after signing a huge free agent deal and then leading the Yankees to their first World Series in almost a decade in 2009. Price went 20-5 as the ace workhorse for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.
With the way pitching philosophy and culture has changed in the past decade, we may never see another Black or Brown 20-game winner again. So we must hold all Black Aces in the highest esteem because it’s one of the rarest achievements in baseball.
19-year old Mets phenom Dwight “Doc” Gooden made his MLB debut 37 years ago today.
The phenomenon that quickly captivated the baseball world and earned the name “Dr.K,” collected his first of 194 career wins in a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros.
This start almost didn’t happen as Gooden made the 3-mile walk from the hotel to the Astrodome ahead of his team, but couldn’t get in the stadium, as no one could vouch for his identity.
So Gooden climbed an 8-foot fence to get in and was seen by a security guard, who thought he was an intruder.
Nothing came of it as team trainer Steve Garland was already at the ballpark and eventually vouched for him. Gooden pointed to the situation as the perfect encapsulation of his nerves that night.
The Black Ace would go on to win NL Rookie of The Year with a 17-9 record, while posting a 2.60 ERA, with 278 strikeouts in 218 innings pitched.
Shea Stadium, to this day, has never recaptured the electricity that was commonplace any time Gooden would throw that heat or his infamous curveball know as “Lord Charles.”
The K-corner was steady popping back then.
So it’s safe to say nerves didn’t faze this “Black Knight” after all. In fact, he quickly became King of New York, and the next season he went 24-4 and won his first and only Cy Young award. Doc went 49 innings without giving up an earned run in one historic stretch in ‘85
There’s a growing generation of baseball fans who have no idea just how great Gooden was. To this day, we haven’t experienced another Black pitcher as dominant, awe-inspiring or transcending as Dr. K.
Only four players have ever cranked out three homers on Opening Day.
The great George Bell (Blue Jays vs. Royals on April 4, 1988). Tuffy Rhodes abused Black Ace Dwight Gooden for three bombs on April 4, 1994. Dmitri Young (Tigers vs. Royals on April 4, 2005) and the most recent player was Matt Davidson, who launched three lasers against the Royals on March 29, 2018.
Mlbbro.com went Black In The Day with Young, who is now a 47-year-old high school baseball coach.