Hoffman: In Don Newcombe, baseball got its first Black Ace

From Benjamin Hoffman at the New York Times on February 20, 2019:

When Dave Stewart reported to big league camp for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the mid-1970s, he did so as one of baseball’s rarities: a black starting pitcher.

Fortunately for Stewart, Don Newcombe was in camp to walk the teenager through those early days, setting Stewart up for future stardom.

“His influence on me is beyond words,” Stewart said. “I can’t even tell you how huge it was for me to meet him at the time I did in my career.”

Being around Newcombe, who died on Tuesday at 92, gave Stewart unfiltered access to what Mudcat Grant, another top black pitcher, would one day describe as a Black Ace. Grant, who wrote a book on the subject, had simple criteria for that distinction: an American- or Canadian-born black player who won 20 games in a season. That’s it.

Read the fulll article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/sports/don-newcombe-black-aces.html

Originally published: February 20, 2019. Last Updated: February 20, 2019.