|Don Newcombe Special Advisor to the Chairman|
Don Newcombe is in his 60th season in the Dodger organization. "Newk" pitched eight seasons for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1949-51, '54-58) and is credited with starting the first Community Relations department in Major League Baseball in 1970. Since 2009, Newcombe has been a special advisor to the chairman.
Newcombe, 90, was a member of the Dodgers' 1955 World Championship team and spent the first eight seasons of his 10-year big league career with the club in Brooklyn and Los Angeles before finishing his career with the Reds (1959-60) and Indians (1960). The New Jersey native was a four-time National League All-Star and registered a record of 149-90 with 1,129 strikeouts and a 3.56 ERA, 136 complete games and 24 shutouts. Along with Justin Verlander, he's one of just two players in baseball history to win the sport's three major honors, winning Rookie of the Year in 1949 and taking home both Most Valuable Player and the Cy Young Award in 1956, when he led the league with 27 wins. Newcombe missed the 1952 and 1953 seasons while serving his country during the Korean War.
Newcombe originally signed with the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues in 1944 at the age of 17 and just two years later, in 1946, he played a key role in the country's Civil Rights movement when he pitched for the Class B Nashua Dodgers of the New England League, breaking the minor league color barrier along with Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and he won National League Rookie of the Year honors. Campanella was promoted to the Dodgers in 1948 and Newcombe finally arrived in May 1949. While the Dodgers were winners on the field, the trio still faced challenges off the field as they encountered death threats, isolation, degradation and insults throughout the season.
Newcombe continues to make dozens of appearances throughout the Los Angeles area each season, speaking to youngsters and participating in the Dodgers' Alumni Association. Through the years, he has helped numerous people, in and out of baseball, with their battles against substance abuse.
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