Newcombe, Robinson and catcher Roy Campanella were a trio of black stars for the Dodgers who often supported each other.
Newcombe recalled King saying, "Don, you'll never know how easy you and Jackie and (Larry) Doby and Campy made it for me to do my job by what you did on the baseball field". Newcombe broke into the league two years after Robinson in 1949.
Following his playing career, Newcombe battled substance abuse, but had maintained his sobriety since 1967 and worked with the USO to help veterans who were dealing with substance abuse issues. He was NL Rookie of Year in 1949 & was named NL MVP & @MLB Cy Young Award victor in '56 with a 27-7 record.
In 1955, the Dodgers finally beat the Yankees in the World Series and Newcombe went 20-5 during the regular season, winning 18 of his first 19 decisions.
"Don was classy, a sharp dresser, and one of the nicest men I've ever met". Newcombe said. "This is unacceptable". In the opener, Newcombe and Allie Reynolds matched shutout innings until Tommy Henrich ended the game with a home run leading off the bottom of the ninth. He was voted the National League Rookie of the Year in 1949 and received both the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards in 1956. His.271 career batting average is ninth-best among pitchers in Major League Baseball history.
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After emerging as a force on the mound, Newcombe lost two prime seasons to the Korean War and struggled a bit upon his return.
By the mid-1950s, though, the pressures both of stardom and the existing racial animus were wearing hard on Newcombe, and creating tension between him and his teammates. "The only time I didn't drink was the night before I was supposed to pitch".
Off-field issues also emerged, among them an auto crash - in which the vehicle Newcombe was driving struck a child - the breakup of his marriage, and a rapidly increasing emphasis on alcoholism to help him cope with the accumulation of problems. In 344 games pitched, Newcombe posted a record of 149-90 with a 3.56 ERA. Newcombe was 92 at the time of his passing.
The Dodgers clubhouse relied on Newcombe's batting ability, as well. But when in 1966 his second wife threatened to leave with their son, Newcombe discovered the motivation to seek help for his alcoholism.