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Date Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 03:04:26pm
In reply to: Dies at 92 's message, "Former Dodgers Pitcher Don Newcombe" on Tuesday, February 19, 11:34:21am



Los Angeles (AFP) - Don Newcombe, among the greatest pitchers in the history of the Brooklyn-Los Angeles Dodgersfranchise, died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 92.

"Newk" helped the club to the 1955 World Series title while based in Brooklyn, was traded to Cincinnati during the team's 1958 debut season in Los Angeles and later played for Cleveland and Japan's Chunichi Dragons, where he closed out his playing career in 1962.

"Mentor at first, friend at the end, missed by anyone who got to know him," former Dodgers teammate and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax said.

Newcombe was Major League Baseball's first Cy Young Award winner, earning the award in its 1956 inaugural season when it was given to only one pitcher from both the National and American leagues. He was also the 1956 NL Most Valuable Player and a four-time MLB All-Star.

"Don Newcombe's presence and life established him as a role model for major leaguers across the country," Dodgers president Stan Kasten 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."

Newcombe pitched 10 seasons in the major leagues from 1949-60, missing two years in the prime of his career for mandatory military service during the Korean War.

Newcombe became only the third black pitcher in Major League Baseball and in 1949 became the first black pitcher to start a World Series game.

The right-hander won 149 career games with a 3.56 earned-run average and 1,129 strikeouts. He went 112-48 for Brooklyn over six seasons he played from 1949-56.

Newcombe was about to start a 62nd season in the Dodgers organization, including heading the community relations department. Since 2009, he was a special advisor to the chairman.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was among the modern players who were close to the living legend.

"I kind of accept it today that he's gone, compared to when I talked to him on the phone and he was in and out," Jansen said. "To see him the last few months, it's best for him to be in heaven. I'm going to miss him a ton.

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He and Roy Campanella were signed in 1946 to the Dodgers franchise in Nashua, New Hampshire ... believing the French-Canadian population (who had faced discrimination) would be more tolerant of black athlees than in other cities. RIP (NT)Ed TraceyTuesday, February 19, 04:37:03pm

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