The Los Angeles Dodgers lost a legend on Tuesday, as four-time All-Star and 1956 National League Cy Young Award winner Don Newcombe passed away at the age of 92 following a lengthy illness.
Newcombe, one of the last links to the organization’s tenure in Brooklyn, was a pioneer both on and off the diamond, sharing the field with the likes of Roy Campanella and Jackie Robinson.
During his post-playing days, Newcombe became a staple at Dodger Stadium, often taking in games and extending valuable advice to any player that approached him.
Various members of the Dodgers organization shared personal tributes to Newcombe, including Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager, as well as blasts from the past in Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully, via Rowan Kavner of Dodger Insider:
Corey Seager: “It’s really sad. He was very helpful in my career, him and his whole family have always looked after me, always helped me from day one. I met him when I signed in 2012 and ever since then they’ve kept in contact really close with my family. It’s a hard one to swallow.”
Clayton Kershaw: “Any time you lose somebody that you’ve known for a little while, it’s a sad thing. But it was a pretty incredible life, a great story, a pioneer for a lot of different things in baseball. Just getting to know him over the years, a great man. He’ll be missed, for sure. “The Dodger uniform meant a lot to him. Before he got older and traveling was tough, he used to speak to us every Spring Training. You could just tell what it meant to him. And a lot of the older guys around here — whether it be Tommy (Lasorda) or Manny Mota, John Shoemaker, any of these guys that have been around for 50-plus years, there’s a reason they stick around. It means a lot to them.”
Tommy Lasorda: “Don Newcombe had a ton of talent and he was a great competitor. He was a helluva pitcher and he was one of the best hitting pitchers I have ever seen.”
Sandy Koufax: “Don was a mentor at first, friend at the end. He will be missed by anyone who got to know him.”
Vin Scully: “Don Newcombe was a big man in every way. He had a big trophy case (MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year winner). Don was admired by Dr. Martin Luther King and he was a big champion in the fight for equality along with Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. The former 27-game winner was an even bigger winner when he overcame his battle with alcoholism and helped others whenever he could. He truly was a big man on and off the field and he will be missed by all.”
Kenley Jansen, who was particularly close to Newcombe, offered a heartfelt tribute to his mentor on Instagram:
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Newk meant a lot to me. He was my mentor. He’d always talk to me about how strong I have to be, he spoke to me a lot about mental toughness and physical preparation – running, conditioning. He was encouraging, he’d tell me how good I am. He’d be motivating, he’d say be aggressive out there. He kept me motivated. These words meant a lot, especially from someone like him who played with Jackie Robinson. They are why I am here today playing. I learned so much from this man. Sitting together, knowing his stories, his storytelling, what he, Jackie and Roy Campanella had to go through for us to be here today. He taught me about the history of the game. He talked to me about being a leader. He talked to me about being a good husband and a good father. I’ll miss sitting with him every day before our games. Newk was one of the greatest Dodgers. I am honored for the time I got to spend with him, that I got to sit at Dodger Stadium with him, a legend of this game. I will miss these moments the most. My son Kaden loved him very much. Newk and his wife Karen were with me and my wife Gianni when we got married. He meant a lot to my family. Our hearts, our prayers, everything are with Karen and the Newcombe family. I appreciated all that Karen did for Newk. Newk, I love you. You’re in my heart forever. Thank you. @dodgers
Justin Turner followed suit and reflected on his personal relationship with Newcombe, sharing an image of the two and his own message:
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Mr. Newcombe was more than just a great baseball player, he was an ambassador for the game. On and off the field, one of the most sincere, respected, & knowledgeable gentlemen I have ever had the chance to be around. Thank you for the lessons in baseball and life. #RIPNewk
The tributes pouring in are a testament to the everlasting impact Newcombe has left on the Dodgers organization and baseball world. He will be missed not just for his contributions on the field, but his kindness and graciousness to all who knew him.