August 28, 2005
The Dodgers' Brooklyn Bridge: Don Newcombe, a link to a glorious past, is 79 and still serving the franchise with character and class, attributes of much concern to the organization today (Bill Plaschke, August 28, 2005, LA Times)
It has been nearly 60 years now, and he still takes the ball.Posted by Orrin Judd at August 28, 2005 12:00 AM
Night after night, in a stadium where he never pitched, representing a Los Angeles Dodger team for which he never won a game, the old man in the silk suit and Panama hat still shows up.
Smiling through the demons. Shaking hands through the bitterness. Standing tall for a sport that once tried to shrink him.
Many players don't know the name. Many fans have forgotten the face. Never does this loosen the grip.
Hand him the autograph pad. Pull out the disposable camera. Call in the Kiwanis Club. Give him the ball.
It was hell to get here, and Don Newcombe is not leaving.
"I still am bitter to a large degree, but then I think about what Jackie Robinson once told me," he said. "He said, 'You've got to change one letter in that word. Change the 'i' to an 'e.' Forget about bitter, try to make things better.' "
So, you want Dodger character?
Cheer it today, at the 50th reunion of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, upon the introduction of Don Newcombe. [...]
"To see him standing behind the batting cage before the game, it constantly amazes me," said Bob Grant, the Dodger batting practice pitcher who frequently talks with Newcombe. "All he stood for, everything he fought, and he's still here. He's, like, our treasure."