Snider, Newcombe part of festivities
Dodgers greats throw out ceremonial first pitch before Game 3
LOS ANGELES -- Duke Snider and Don Newcombe celebrated the Dodgers' first championship in franchise history after a decade of close calls 53 years to the day of Saturday's Game 3 of the National League Division Series.Perhaps trying to recapture some of the Brooklyn Dodgers' championship magic, Snider and Newcombe returned to Dodger Stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's playoff game against the Cubs.
"I've been with the Dodgers for so long," said Newcombe, who pitched for the franchise for eight years and is currently working as the director of community relations. "I was hoping that I could do this more often. We haven't been able to do this in the last 20 years."I hope we do many more of them. If the team we have here can do the job that they're capable of doing, that's what we've been waiting for, the Los Angeles fans have been waiting for all these years." Snider, a Hall of Fame center fielder, and Newcombe, a big-game pitcher, both donned retro jerseys -- similar to what they wore in their heyday, although these uniforms included their last names. Both former stars found it fitting that they could share the moment together since they were teammates dating back to their Minor League days. "We have a lot of memories, a lot of fond memories," Newcombe said. "We have some bad memories of things happening in 1950, '51, losing things on the last day of the season and in the playoffs and whatnot." Added Snider: "He's always been on my side. It means a lot. I enjoy coming out; I enjoy watching these guys perform." Snider led the Dodgers to six pennants -- three with Newcombe -- but they never could get over the hump against the Yankees in the World Series before 1955. Postseason play always brought out the best in Snider, who hit .286 with 11 homers and 26 RBIs in 36 career World Series games, with the homer and RBI numbers being NL records in World Series play. "It's why you play all year to get there -- to see if you can win," Snider said. Newcombe, who frequently wears his dapper suits and top hat around Dodger Stadium, has seen many pennant winners in his time, but he wanted to wait until later in October to give his opinion of the 2008 version of the Dodgers. "We really haven't done anything yet until we win nine more games," Newcombe said. "When we win nine more games that means that we will be champions of baseball." Before Snider and Newcombe threw out the first pitch, jazz musician Steve Tyrell sang the national anthem, while a giant American flag was unfurled in the outfield. Tyrell followed with his jazzy rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." With the playoffs in Los Angeles, that meant the stars were also out at Dodger Stadium. The guest list included actors Dennis Haysbert, Pierce Brosnan, James Denton, Paul Walker, Jon Lovitz, Billy Crystal, Eric Balfour and Vince Vaughn, a Chicago fan who was booed when shown on DodgerVision pointing to his Cubs cap.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.