The former Los Angeles Dodgers, pitcher of the great Don Newcombe, has died at the age of 92 following a long illness, the team said Tuesday.
"Don Newcombe's presence and life have established him as a model for major leagues across the country," said Dodgers chairman Stan Kasten in a statement. "He was a constant presence at Dodger Stadium and the players have always been drawn to him for his endless advice and friendship – the Dodgers were important to him and we are all lucky that he is part of our lives."
Newcombe, one of the first African-American MLB pitchers, joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949, winning the rookie title of the year while helping the team win the pennant of the LN.
In the first season of Newcombe, his Dodgers teammates Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella became three of the first four African Americans (alongside Larry Doby, the Cleveland player) to participate in a all-star game.
After a break in the army during the 1952 and 1953 seasons, he returned and with Robinson, Campanella, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Pee Wee Reese, he helped create a World Series champion.
The Dodgers won everything in 1955, and Newcombe went 20-5 with a 3.20 ERA to help them get there.
His best season on the teeing was in 1956, when he led the league with 27 wins and won the Cy Young and MVP awards and led the Dodgers to another NL pennant. But the Dodgers lost the series against the Yankees in seven games, and Newcombe dropped the deciding match, giving Yogi Berra two runs.
He never reached the same heights again. After a season start from 0 to 6 in 1958 (the first in Los Angeles), he was traded to the Reds. He won 13 games in 1959, but only six split between Cincinnati and Cleveland in 1960, his last season.
After his retirement, Newcombe revealed that an alcohol-related problem had contributed to the fall of his career. In the mid-1960s, he became sober and collaborated with various organizations to fight against teen drinking.
Newcombe finished his 10-year career at MLB as a four-star player with a record of 149-90 and a points average of 3.56.
The native of New Jersey began his professional career in the black leagues in 1944.