All-Time Indians: Vic Power

Name: Victor Felipe Pellot Pove     Position: First Base      
Nick Name: Vic Power           Number: 10        
Tribe Time: 1958-1961         DOB: 11/01/1927      
Accolades: 2 Time All-Star (1959-1960), 3 Time Gold Glove (1959-1961), Top 23 MVP (1959-1960)  
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS SB% OBP SLG AVG OPS
Best Season (1959) 147 595 102 172 31 6 10 60 40 22 9 13 41% .334 .412 .289 .746
Career 534 2123 298 612 115 19 37 260 115 69 24 22 52% .322 .413 .288 .735

Vic Power had a great name for a first baseman, but it wasn't very fitting. Rather than the typical slugging corner infielder, he averaged just about 10 home runs per season in an era when Mickey Mantle was blasting 50. Instead, he had a different set of talents, including a fantastic glove and a selective eye at the plate. Even though he played just four seasons with the Indians, it was enough that he should be considered among the greatest first basemen in team history.

Power was a 30 year old veteran when he finally came to Cleveland, already owner of a Gold Glove and two All-Star appearances. After spending his entire career to that point with the Philadelphia/Kansas City Athletics, in the middle of 1958, Power was traded, along with power hitting short stop Woodie Held, to the Indians in exchange for future home run king, Roger Maris. While both Power and Held had strong careers with the Indians, the trade has to go down as one of the worst in team history as Maris became a super star for the New York Yankees.

Power certainly pulled his part of the deal as he quickly became the greatest defensive first baseman in Indians history. He still has the least amount of errors (21) among all players with at least 300 games at first and has the best fielding percentage (.995) as well. In addition, he is the only Indians first baseman to ever win a Gold Glove and he won three while with the team. 

He was also impressive at the plate, especially when it came to striking out. Power struck out less than almost anyone else and remains 61st in MLB history in at bats per strike out. In his first partial season with the team, he actually struck out (11) less often than he hit a home run (12). After that, he never struck out more than 22 times in a year, despite playing in exactly 147 games each season. He was also a very versatile player and proved he could hit anywhere in the line-up by scoring 102 runs at the top of the line-up in 1959, then moving to a more prominent position and knocking in 84 after the departure of Rocky Colavito.

Prior to the 1962 season, the Indians sent Power packing, despite a great short run, and replaced him at first with Tito Francona, who was previously the left fielder. In exchange for Power, the Indians netted Pedro Ramos from the Twins in another of many terrible deals during the 1950's and 1960's that doomed the team to unimportance for decades. While Ramos pitched just parts of three seasons in Cleveland, going 26-30, Power went on to win three more Gold Gloves and knock in 152 more runs during his final four seasons. After 124 games in 1965 with the Angels, Power retired from baseball and moved back to Puerto Rico, where he lived until he died in 2005.

In the end, Power was kept out of the Hall of Fame, but he still deserves credit as not just one of the greatest Indians first basemen of all-time, but one of the best in the history of baseball. Only three players have won more Gold Gloves at first base than Power's seven and he was the first to do so. While not much emphasis is usually placed on playing a strong first base, it is a corner stone of the game of baseball and none did it better than Vic Power.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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