Baseball great: Before his glory days in Brooklyn, the pitcher starred for the Nashua Dodgers.
Former National League MVP and Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Don Newcombe, one of the Dodgers franchise’s final links to Brooklyn, passed away Tuesday after a lengthy illness. He was 92.
Los Angeles team president Stan Kasten called Newcombe “a role model for major leaguers across the country.”
“He was a constant presence at Dodger Stadium and players always gravitated to him for his endless advice and leadership,” Kasten said in a statement. “The Dodgers meant everything to him and we are all fortunate he was a part of our lives.”
Newcombe, a right-hander, pitched for 10 seasons in the majors, earning NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1949 and All-Star selections in 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1955.
Before he landed in Brooklyn, Newcombe was a part of New Hampshire baseball history. Pitching for the Class B Nashua Dodgers — believed to be the first professional baseball team in the United States with an integrated roster — Newcombe had two great seasons, 1946 and 1947, leading the team to two New England League titles.
Teaming with future Brooklyn Dodger teammate, catcher Roy Campanella, Newcombe went 14-4 in 1946.
The pitcher followed up that season by posting a 19-6 record in ’47.
Banners commemorating Newcombe and Campanella were unveiled in a ceremony at Nashua’s Holman Stadium in July of 2017.
In the majors, Newcombe, a -time 20-game winner, won a World Series championship with Brooklyn in 1955 and enjoyed his finest individual season in 1956, capturing MVP and Cy Young honors with a 27-7 record, a 3.06 ERA, 18 complete games and five shutouts.
Newcombe retired after the 1960 season with a record of 149-90, a 3.56 ERA and 1,129 strikeouts in 344 games (294 starts) with the Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds (1958-60) and Cleveland Indians (1960).
He missed the 1952 and 1953 seasons due to military service.