Good morning Obots!
Today’s Famous First — Don Newcombe the first African American to win the Cy Young Award.
From Madison, New Jersey, Don Newcombe was the first great American American pitcher in major league baseball history. He debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers on May 20, 1949 and immediately helped them to the league pennant with 17 victories, led the league in shutouts, and pitched 32 consecutive scoreless innings.
Newcombe was also among the first four black players to be named to the All-Star team, along with his teammates Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella and the Indians’ Larry Doby.
In 1956, Newcombe was 27-7 with 139 strikeouts, a 3.06 ERA, 5 shutouts and 18 complete games, leading the league in winning percentage. He was named the National League’s MVP, and was awarded the first-ever Cy Young Award, then given to the single best pitcher in both major leagues.
A 6’4″, 225-pound fastball pitcher, until 2011, Newcombe was also the only baseball player to have won the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards. In addition to his pitching abilities, Newcombe was a dangerous hitter as well. He batted .271 (the 9th-best average in history among pitchers), with 15 home runs, 108 runs batted in, 238 hits, 33 doubles, 3 triples, 94 runs scored and 8 stolen bases.
At a fundraising event for Senator Barbara Boxer, President Barack Obama referred to Newcombe (who was attending the event) as “someone who helped… America become what it is.
I would not be here if it were not for Jackie Robinson and it were not for Don Newcombe.
- – President Barack Obama, April 19, 2010.