Don Newcombe was one of the lucky ones, he only played one year in the Negro Leagues before being bought by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. After three years in the Minors Newk was promoted to the Dodgers in 1949. In 49 he was voted rookie of the year and went to the all star game. Newk was the pitcher relieved by Ralph Branca in the famous 1951 play off with the Giants, Branca went on to throw the fateful pitch to a grateful Bobby Thomson.
Not only was he a great pitcher he was also a great hitter, his lifetime average of .271 is the ninth best by a pitcher in baseball history, he is one of the only pitchers to be used regulary as a pinch hitter.
Newk lost two years of playing time due to the Police action in Korea.
Newcombe is the only player to win the MVP, Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. So hats off to Don Newcombe still going strong at age 85.