Megdal: Don Newcombe, the Dodgers’ living legend

From SABR member Howard Megdal at Sports on Earth on October 16, 2013:

Forty-one years ago, on October 15, 1972, Jackie Robinson delivered this message in his final public speech at the World Series.

“I’m extremely proud and pleased to be here this afternoon,” Robinson said. “But I must admit, I’m gonna be tremendously more pleased, and more proud, when I look at that third base coaching line one day, and see a black face managing in baseball.”

Nine days later, Robinson was gone. So is Roy Campanella, another trailblazer with the Brooklyn Dodgers. So are the Brooklyn Dodgers, for that matter, now the Los Angeles Dodgers for 55 years.

But you don’t have to look very hard to find Don Newcombe, dominant ace for those same Dodgers, in the crowd at Dodger Stadium. He was in his usual spot behind home plate, smartly dressed in a tan blazer and Panama hat, holding court prior to Tuesday’s game.

Newcombe is 87 years old, but the authority that helped him win the Rookie of the Year for the 1949 Dodgers, and earn both Cy Young and MVP honors in 1956, hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s still working for the Dodgers as a special adviser, and he’s still around to talk about a singular part of baseball history that’s disappearing.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 16, 2013. Last Updated: October 16, 2013.