Don Newcombe: Wikis


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Don Newcombe
Born: June 14, 1926 (1926-06-14) (age 83)
Madison, New Jersey
Batted: Left Threw: Right 
MLB debut
May 20, 1949 for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1960 for the Cleveland Indians
Career statistics
Win–Loss record     149–90
Earned run average     3.56
Strikeouts     1,129
Career highlights and awards

Donald Newcombe (born June 14, 1926 in Madison, New Jersey), nicknamed "Newk", is an American former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (1949-51 and 1954-58), Cincinnati Reds (1958-60) and Cleveland Indians (1960).

Newcombe is the only baseball player to have won the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards in his career. In 1949, he became the first African-American pitcher to start a World Series game. In 1955, Newcombe was the first black pitcher to win twenty games in one season.[1] In 1956, he was the first pitcher to win the National League MVP and the Cy Young Award in the same season.[2]

Newcombe was also an excellent hitting pitcher, compiling a career average of .271 with fifteen home runs, and was one of few pitchers in the major leagues used as a pinch hitter.



After playing one season with the Newark Eagles in the Negro Leagues, Newcombe signed with the Dodgers. With catcher Roy Campanella, Newcombe played for the first racially integrated baseball team based in the United States in the twentieth century, the 1946 Nashua Dodgers of the New England League. He continued to play for Nashua in 1947 before moving up through the minor leagues. He debuted for Brooklyn on May 20, 1949. He immediately helped the Dodgers to the league pennant as he earned seventeen victories, led the league in shutouts, and pitched 32 consecutive scoreless innings. He was also among the first four black players to be named to the All-Star team, along with teammates Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella and the Indians' Larry Doby. Newcombe was named Rookie of the Year by both The Sporting News and the Baseball Writers Association of America. In 1950, he won nineteen games, and twenty the following season, also leaingd the league in strikeouts in 1951. In the memorable playoff game between the Dodgers and the Giants at the end of the 1951 season, Don Newcombe was relieved by Ralph Branca in the bottom of the ninth inning before Branca surrendered the walk-off home run to Bobby Thomson.

After two years of military duty during the Korean War, Newcombe suffered a disappointing comeback season in 1954, going 9-8 with a 4.55 earned run average, but returned to form the next year by finishing second in the NL in both wins and earned run average, with marks of 20-5 and 3.20, as the Dodgers won the first World Series in franchise history. He had an even greater 1956 season, with marks of 27-7, 139 strikeouts, and a 3.06 ERA, 5 shutouts and 18 complete games, leading the league in winning percentage for the second year in a row. He was named the National League's MVP, and was awarded the first-ever Cy Young Award, then given to the best pitcher in the combined major leagues.

Following the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles, Newcombe got off to an 0-6 start in 1958 before being traded to the Reds for four players in midseason. He posted a record of 24-21 with Cincinnati until his contract was sold to Cleveland in mid-1960. He finished with a 2-3 mark in Cleveland before being released to end his major league career. Newcombe acknowledges that alcoholism played a significant role in the decline of his career.

In his ten-year major league career, Newcombe registered a record of 149-90, with 1129 strikeouts and a 3.56 ERA, 136 complete games and 24 shutouts in 2154 innings pitched. In addition to his pitching abilities, Newcombe was a dangerous hitter as well, having hit seven homers one season. He batted .271 (ninth-best average in history among pitchers), with 15 home runs, 108 runs batted in, 238 hits, 33 doubles, 3 triples, 94 runs scored and 8 stolen bases.

On May 28, 1962, Don Newcombe signed with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.

Life After Retirement

Newcombe rejoined the Dodger organization in the late 1970s and served as the team's Director of Community Affairs. In March 2009 he was named special adviser to the chairman of the team.[3]

Personal life

Newcombe has maintained sobriety since 1967. In his personal and professional life, he has helped numerous other people in their own battles against substance abuse.

I'm standing here with the man (Newcombe) who saved my life. He was a channel for God's love for me because he chased me all over Los Angeles trying to help me and I just couldn't understand that — but he persevered — he wouldn't give in and my life is wonderful today because of Don Newcombe.

Maury Wills, former Dodger great, on Newcombe's role in helping Wills regain sobriety after Wills' substance abuse problems in the 1980s.

What I have done after my baseball career and being able to help people with their lives and getting their lives back on track and they become human beings again — means more to me than all the things I did in baseball.
— Don Newcombe

See also


  1. ^ Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.198, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, NY, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
  2. ^ Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.152, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, NY, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
  3. ^ Newcombe Named Special Adviser Yahoo Sports, March 23, 2009

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Alvin Dark
National League Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Sam Jethroe
Preceded by
Joe Hatten
Carl Erskine
Brooklyn Dodgers Opening Day
Starting pitcher

Succeeded by
Carl Erskine
Don Drysdale
Preceded by
Warren Spahn
National League Strikeout Champion
(with Warren Spahn)
Succeeded by
Warren Spahn
Preceded by
Robin Roberts
National League Wins Champion
Succeeded by
Warren Spahn
Preceded by
Roy Campanella
National League Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Hank Aaron
Preceded by
Cy Young Award
Succeeded by
Warren Spahn

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