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Don Newcombe passes away at 92

Dodger great who was the first player to win Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award

MLB: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After battling a lengthy illness, Don Newcombe has passed away at the age of 92.

Newcombe pitched 10 years in the big leagues, including eight with the Dodgers. He debuted in 1949, going 17-8 with a 3.17 ERA. He was named an All-Star, and took home Rookie of the Year honors.

Over the next two seasons, the right-hander would rack up 39 wins. He didn’t play in 1952 and 1953, as he spent time in the military.

His best season came in 1956, where he won both the Cy Young and the MVP award. He went 27-7 with a 3.06 ERA. He pitched 268 innings, where he had a WHIP of 0.989.

Dodgers President Stan Kasten issued a statement on the passing of Newcombe. “Don Newcombe’s presence and life established him as a role model for Major Leaguers across the country,” he said. “He was a constant presence at Dodger Stadium and players always gravitated to him for his endless advice and leadership. The Dodgers meant everything to him and we are all fortunate he was a part of our lives.”

Per the L.A. Times, here are some of Newcombe’s historic accomplishments:

  • He was the first outstanding African American pitcher in the major leagues and the first, in 1949, to start a World Series game.
  • He was the first black pitcher to win 20 games in a single season, 1951.
  • He was the first player, in 1956, to win both the National League most-valuable-player award and the major league Cy Young Award as outstanding pitcher.
  • At the end of his career, he was the first former major league player to sign a contract to play in Japan.

In 294 career starts, Newcombe threw a complete game in almost half (!!!), throwing 136 career complete games.

This past season, Newcombe was announced as one of the three inaugural members of the ‘Legends of Dodger Baseball’ class, recognition given to players for their impact on and off the field for the Dodgers.

He was set to be honored on April 27, with his induction ceremony and bobblehead giveaway.

He is survived by his wife, Karen Newcombe, son Don Newcombe Jr., spouse Kapiolai Newcombe, daughter Kellye Roxanne Newcombe, son Brett Anthony Newcombe, spouse Anna Miranda Newcombe, grandchildren Cayman Newcombe and Riann Newcombe and stepson Chris Peterson.

Many current and former Dodger players, officials and employees expressed their thoughts via social media today