On Jan. 19, 1961, longtime Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe was released by the Cleveland Indians, marking the end of his 10-year MLB career.
Newcombe spent parts of his first eight seasons with the Dodgers after signing with the organization in 1944. He missed the 1952 and 1953 seasons while serving in the Korean War.
Newcombe was part of the Dodgers’ first World Series team in 1955, a four-time All-Star, 1949 Rookie of the Year, and winner of the Cy Young and MVP Awards in 1956.
Following the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles in 1958, Newcombe got off to an 0–6 start and was traded midseason to the Cincinnati Reds for four players.
The right-hander then spent parts of the following two seasons with the Reds and Indians. In his 10-year MLB career, Newcombe went 149–90 with 136 complete games, 24 shutouts, a 3.56 ERA and 1,129 strikeouts.
After being released by the Indians, Newcombe went on to sign a one-year contract with the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball for the 1962 season. It marked his final professional season and only one in Japan.
Newcombe split his time as an outfielder and first baseman, hitting .262 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI. He pitched in only one game for the Dragons, allowing two runs across four innings.
Newcombe remained involved with the Dodgers organization before passing away in 2019. He was included in the inaugural “Legends of Dodger Baseball” one year prior, frequently attended games at Dodger Stadium, and served as a mentor to the likes of Kenley Jansen and Matt Kemp.
Dodgers’ Koufax becomes youngest player elected to Baseball Hall of Fame
Also on this day in Dodgers history —- but in 1972 -— legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. At 36 years and 20 days old, Koufax became the youngest player to ever be inducted.
The famed southpaw finished a lifetime 165-87 with a 2.76 ERA in 12 seasons with the Dodgers, beginning his career in Brooklyn. Along with the three Cy Young Awards, Koufax was a seven-time All-Star, five-time ERA leader, the 1963 National League MVP, threw one perfect game and four no-hitters, and won four World Series.
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