Dodgers great Don Newcombe has died at the age of 92.
Newcombe was one of the first African-American pitchers in major league baseball, and was the first African-American pitcher who pitched in the majors in his prime. He began in the Negro Leagues in 1944 but moved to the majors in 1949 at the age of 22, winning the Rookie of the Year Award and helping the Brooklyn Dodgers win the NL pennant. He also joined Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Larry Doby as the first African-American players in the All-Star Game that season.
Newcombe went 20-5 with a 3.20 ERA as the ace of the Dodgers staff in 1955, leading the club to its first ever World Series title. His best season came in 1956 when he won 27 games, winning both the Cy Young Award and the National League MVP Award.
1956 was certainly Newcombe’s peak, and after a decline that he’d later attribute to alcohol abuse, he finished his 10-year MLB career with stints in Cincinnati and Cleveland, calling it quits after the 1960 season with a 149-90 record and 3.56 ERA. He was a four-time All-Star.
A statement released by the Dodgers:
Rest in peace to a legend.