In a total of seven and a half seasons with the Dodgers organization, Newcombe won the Rookie of the Year in 1949, Cy Young and MVP in 1956 and appeared in four All-Star games. He passed away Tuesday after a lengthy illness, according to the Dodgers.
Numerous cultural touchstones that we today see as part of the American experience Newcombe lived through and experienced.
"[He was] one of the greatest pitchers in Dodger history and one of the franchise's final links to Brooklyn and the days of Roy Campanella and Jackie Robinson", the Dodgers said of Newcombe in a statement posted to social media.
Newcombe recalled King saying, "Don, you'll never know how easy you and Jackie and (Larry) Doby and Campy made it for me to do my job by what you did on the baseball field".
INSKEEP: Columnist Bill Plaschke says that attitude is what he'll remember about Newcombe.
Born June 14, 1926, in Madison, N.J., Newcombe pitched in the Negro Leagues starting in 1944 at age 18.
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Newcombe began his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949, going 17-8, helping the Dodgers to the National League pennant and receiving the National League rookie of the year award. In his very first year, he took his team to the World Series and became the first Black pitcher ever to start in a World Series game. "He wouldn't give in and my life is wonderful today because of Don Newcombe", Wills said. In the opener, Newcombe and Allie Reynolds matched shutout innings until Tommy Henrich ended the game with a home run leading off the bottom of the ninth.
Besides being an award-winning pitcher, Newcombe could also hit well.
After emerging as a force on the mound, Newcombe lost two prime seasons to the Korean War and struggled a bit upon his return.
The baseball pitcher Don Newcombe has died.
He left the game at age 34 with a career record of 149-90 and a 3.56 ERA.
In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Newcombe said alcoholism contributed to his decline in baseball.
In September, the Dodgers announced that Newcombe, Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela would make up the inaugural class of the Legends of Dodger Baseball.