LOS ANGELES — Don Newcombe, the hard-throwing Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who was one of the first black players in the major leagues and who went on to win the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards, has died. He was 92.

The team confirmed that Newcombe died Tuesday morning after a lengthy illness.

“Don Newcombe’s presence and life established him as a role model for Major Leaguers across the country,” Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. “He was a constant presence at Dodger Stadium, and players always gravitated to him for his endless advice and leadership. The Dodgers meant everything to him, and we are all fortunate he was a part of our lives.”

Newcombe, like Dodgers teammate Jackie Robinson, was signed by Branch Rickey from the Negro Leagues and went on to make a huge mark in the major leagues.

“Newk” was a fierce presence on the mound, a 6-foot-4 and 225-pound bear of a man who stared down hitters and backed up anyone foolish enough to crowd the plate.

He was a four-time All-Star and won 20 games three times.

“Don Newcombe had a ton of talent and he was a great competitor,” former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who was a teammate of Newcombe’s, said in a statement. “He was a helluva pitcher and he was one of the best hitting pitchers I have ever seen.”

His greatest year was 1956 when he went 27-7 and won both the Cy Young Award, then only given to one pitcher for both leagues, and the National League MVP award.

Born June 14, 1926, in Madison, New Jersey, Newcombe pitched in the Negro Leagues starting in 1944 at age 18. In 1945 he had an 8-3 record with the Newark Eagles and won the attention of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ organization.

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. On the day of his 20th win he hit his seventh home run of the season, a National League record for a pitcher at the time.

But Newcombe always struggled in the postseason. He lost the first game of the 1955 series to the Yankees and was passed over in favor of Johnny Podres after preparing to pitch in Game 7. He was 0-4 with an 8.59 ERA in career World Series appearances.

ORIOLES: The Orioles claimed left-handed pitcher Josh Osich on waivers from the San Francisco Giants.

CARDINALS: Pitcher Carlos Martinez has been shut down for two weeks to build up shoulder strength after an injury-plagued season.

Manager Mike Shildt said Martinez won’t throw before being re-evaluated on March 5. Shildt said an MRI this week showed Martinez’s right shoulder was structurally sound.

It was uncertain how this setback would affect Martinez’s status for Opening Day March 28 at NL Central champion Milwaukee.

A two-time All-Star, the 27-year-old righty was 8-6 with five saves and a 3.11 ERA in 33 games last year, 18 of them starts. The Cardinals had not said for certain how Martinez would be used this season.

Martinez was on the disabled list three times last year with shoulder, lat and oblique strains. He said his shoulder had been bothering him a bit in camp.

BREWERS: Mike Moustakas and the Brewers finalized a $10 million, one-year contract that keeps the third baseman in Milwaukee.


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