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.”
Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, July 12, 1949 - This 16th annual summer classic is one of the series most historic, it was the first time African-American players were allow to participate in Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and Jackie Robinson of Dodgers and Larry Doby of Indians @nlbmprez pic.twitter.com/J9Iky5zvKu— Old-Time Baseball Photos (@OTBaseballPhoto) July 14, 2018
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
Mr. Newcombe was more than just a great baseball player, he was an ambassador for the game. On and off the field, one of the most sincere, respected, & knowledgeable gentlemen I have ever had the chance to be around. Thank you for the lessons in baseball and life. #RIPNewk pic.twitter.com/Vdg8gR907U— Justin Turner (@redturn2) February 19, 2019
Sandy Koufax on Don Newcombe:— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) February 19, 2019
"Mentor at first, friend at the end, missed by anyone who got to know him."
Tommy Lasorda released a statement regarding the passing of Don Newcombe:— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) February 19, 2019
“Don Newcombe had a ton of talent and he was a great competitor. He was a helluva pitcher and he was one of the best hitting pitchers I have ever seen”
Yasiel Puig spent time with Don Newcombe and his wife, Karen almost everyday during batting practice at Dodger Stadium. pic.twitter.com/53Ruxnfc2b— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) February 19, 2019
Corey Seager met the late Don Newcombe when he signed in 2012. He spent several afternoons visiting with him while injured last season. “It’s a hard one to swallow,” Seager said of his death.— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) February 19, 2019
#Dodgers Walker Buehler on passing of Don Newcombe: “Incredibly sad news — especially for his family and ours. The guy was a legend.”— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 19, 2019
Mi primera transmisión del año el sábado próximo desde Arizona la dedicaré a la memoria de Don Newcomb fallecido esta mañana a los 92 años de edad.— Jaime Jarrín (@JaimeJarrin) February 19, 2019
Don Newcombe. First word I think of is regal. And he cared so deeply about the Dodgers and the players as people. Will always treasure the time I spent with him.— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) February 19, 2019
Don Newcombe has died at 92. He told me 40 years ago that he— Ross Porter (@therossporter) February 19, 2019
should be in the Hall of Fame because he was the first pitcher to win Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Cy Young Awards. It never happened. He
was the first Cy Young winner after going 27 & 7 in 1956. In L.A., 0 & 6.
I’m saddened to hear of the passing of Dodgers legend Don Newcombe. “Newc” always went out of his way to greet me with a handshake and offer kind words of advice. I’m honored to have known him and spend some time in his presence.— Brandon Morrow (@2Morrow23) February 19, 2019