Vic Power, 78; 4-Time Baseball All-Star Won 7 Gold Gloves
Vic Power, a flashy-fielding All-Star and the last major leaguer to steal home plate twice in a game, has died. He was 78.
Power died Tuesday of cancer in a hospital in a suburb of San Juan, Puerto Rico, his family said.
A four-time All-Star who won seven Gold Gloves at first base from 1958 to 1964, Power was known for his showy, one-handed snags.
He hit .284 with 126 home runs and 658 RBIs in a 12-year career, mostly with the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins.
“I think Vic was one of the best-fielding first basemen of all time,” former Indian roommate Mudcat Grant said Tuesday. “He’d catch balls on one hop, two hops, all sorts of ways.
“I remember once when he missed a pop-up over his head, down the right-field line. After the game, he took his glove into the clubhouse and cut it into little bitty pieces,” Grant said. “He said he didn’t need that glove anymore.”
Power achieved a rare feat in 1958, joining only a handful of players to steal home twice in the same game.
His swipe in the 10th inning led Cleveland to a 10-9 victory over Detroit; curiously, Power had only three steals the whole season.
Power had five siblings and at least 13 children, 11 of whom are still living, said his son, Victor Hugo Pellot.
Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Power was among the first Latino players in the major leagues.
Traded from the New York Yankees’ farm system in December 1953, he made his big-league debut in 1954 with the Philadelphia Athletics.
“He got along very well with every baseball player,” said longtime major league pitcher Juan Pizarro, a fellow Puerto Rican and two-time All-Star. “He was always making jokes. But when it was time to take the field, you had to play hard because he didn’t like joking in the field.”
Power went with the A’s when they moved to Kansas City in 1955 and was traded to Cleveland for Roger Maris in the middle of the 1958 season. That year, Power became the Indians’ first Gold Glove winner.
He also played for the Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies, and finished his career with the Angels in 1965.
Later, he played first and third base and worked as a manager in the Puerto Rican League.
In 1985, while managing the Caguas, Puerto Rico, franchise, Power was suspended for the season’s final week and fined $1,000 for punching an umpire.
That led to a strike by umpires who said he should have received a longer suspension and been declared ineligible for the playoffs.
In retirement, Power set up a baseball academy for young players and managed an amateur team that participated in international competitions.
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