Ray Noble

From BR Bullpen

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Rafael Miguel Noble Magee

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11½", Weight 210 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Ray Noble ,(pronounced "No-Blay"), a black Cuban, didn't get his chance to play in the National League until he was 32 years old because of the so-called "gentlemen's agreement" among the baseball owners to keep Negroes from playing in the white major leagues prior to 1947. A product of the Negro Leagues, Noble played for the New York Cubans of the Negro National League starting in 1945. He was signed by the New York Giants off the Cubans' roster in 1949 and assigned to the Jersey City Giants, where he hit for a .259 average. Ray's next stop was with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League where he helped his team to the 1950 pennant, hitting .316 with 15 home runs.

When Ray debuted with the Giants on April 18, 1951, he became the second colored Cuban player to play in the major leagues, joining Minnie Minoso. There were white Cubans like Nap Reyes and Adrian Zabala but Noble was one of the first blacks.

Noble couldn't have picked a better year to get his first look at the big leagues, as the Giants came from 13 1/2 games back on August 12th to catch the Brooklyn Dodgers and beat them in a three-game playoff for the National League pennant. In the third game of the playoffs, Ray entered the contest late in the game as a replacement for Wes Westrum who was pinch-hit for. Ray was in the dugout when Bobby Thomson hit his unforgettable clout.

Noble's big disappointment came in Game 6 of the World Series against the New York Yankees when the Bronx Bombers beat the the Giants, 4-3, in front of 61,711 fans at Yankee Stadium. Ray pinch-hit for Jim Hearn in the top of the 8th inning with the bases loaded and two out and struck out against Johnny Sain. Noble finished his three-year (1951-1953) National League career with a .218 batting average and 9 home runs. Ray spent 12 active seasons in the minor leagues (1949-1961) in addition to his four in the Negro Leagues, and hit at a .274 clip with 130 homers, but by 1961 his 42-year-old body had had enough and he returned to his native Cuban home.

Noble stayed in Cuba until 1969, when the Castro way of life made him decide to return to the United States, where his brother and son were. He opened up a liquor store in Brooklyn and stayed in the business for many years. Noble died on May 9, 1998, at age 79 in Brooklyn.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Sources[edit]

Baseball Players of the 1950s

Related Sites[edit]