Don Newcombe, 6' 4", 225 lbs, is the only major leaguer to win The Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and Most Valuable Player Awards. Called up by the Brooklyn Dodgers from their minor league farm club, Montreal, Newcombe was the first great African American baseball pitcher. In his rookie year, 1949, Newcombe went 17-8, 3.17 ERA, started 31 games, completed 19 along with 3 shutouts and was voted the Rookie of the Year. In 1950, this Dodger mound ace went 19-11 pitching in 267 innings. In 1951, he won 20 games, while losing only 9, a .690 winning percentage. Big Don Newcombe was called into the military and spent the next two seasons in service.
When he returned in 1954, his arm stiffened and he was only 9-8 with a high 4.55 ERA. The following year he returned to his pre-military form going 20-5. In 1956, his greatest season, Don Newcombe was 27-7 and became the first player in history to win the Cy Young and MVP in the same year. Known for his quite demeanor, Newcombe's alcoholism got the best of him, and at the age of 31 his major league career was over. Newcombe later said, "In 1956 I was the best pitcher in baseball. Four years later, I was out of the major leagues. It must have been the drinking. When you're young, you can handle it, but the older you get, the more it bothers you." Newcombe currently counsels players in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization about alcohol and substance abuse - he pitched for Los Angeles after the Dodgers moved there in 1958. Don Newcombe career numbers: 149-90, .623 pct, 3.56 ERA, 24 shutouts in over 2,000 innings. baseball history