Don Newcombe signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, debuted three seasons later and had an immediate impact. En route to being named Rookie of the Year, Newcombe finished with a 17-8 record and 3.17 ERA in 1949. Five of his wins were shutouts, the threw 19 complete games and added one save for good measure.
Along with Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, Newcombe was also instrumental in breaking the color barrier that had long been in effect. The right-hander increased his win total to 19 and 20 in 1950 and 1951, respectively.
Newcombe then spent two years serving in the military and didn’t play baseball. His return in 1954 was below his standards but in 1955, the right-hander helped guide the Dodgers to their first World Series win. That season, Newcombe went 20-5 during the regular season, but lost his only postseason start.
The 1956 season was Newcombe’s best as he won 27 games and took home the MVP and Cy Young Awards. Newcombe joined the Dodgers in their move to Los Angeles in 1958 and after going 0-6 in 11 games, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds.
Newcombe had a 10-year career, finished with 149-90 record and career 3.56 ERA. He’s one of just two players, Justin Verlander being the other, to win the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and MVP awards.
The Hall of Famer’s post-playing career includes joining the Dodgers organization as a special advisor in 2009 and he was honored by MLB with the “Beacon of Hope” award, which was presented to him at the annual Civil Rights game.
Dodgers Nation would like to wish Newcombe A Happy 88th Birthday!
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