The flashiest first baseman of his time, the swing-at-anything Vic Power had the market cornered on Gold Glove Awards. Vic won the award for first basemen every year from 1958 to 1964. The four-time All-Star was an expert at snagging errant throws and was often labeled a hot dog because he seemed to relish in showing off his skills at smothering those wild offerings.
Power joined the A’s their last season in Philadelphia and was used as a left fielder to accommodate power-hitting Lou Limmer. Power was such an expert fielder that skipper Eddie Joost used him as a jack-of-all-trades as a rookie. Vic could fill in at any outfield post and could even handle himself in the middle infield, but his best position was clearly first base. The A’s new skipper, Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau, understood this when the A’s relocated to Kansas City in 1955. Boudreau made Power his regular first baseman and Vic rewarded him with an All-Star season.
In Vic’s first All-Star season, he Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were the only three Major League players to post double-digit totals in all the extra base hit departments. His .319 batting average tied for the highest mark among Major League first basemen in 1955. A .300 hitter again in 1956, Vic made his second All-Star team and showed a knack for putting the ball in play. He only fanned 16 times all season, but he only accepted 24 walks, so Power’s batting preparations were of the swing-away variety.
When his batting fell off in 1957, the A’s made what could have been a succesful deal when they shipped Vic to the Indians for left-hander Dick “Bones” Tomanek and some youngster named Roger Maris. But KC quickly dealt Maris to New York and Vic regained his form in Cleveland, making the deal a loss for the A’s in every direction. Vic rebounded to lead the AL in triples with Cleveland and brought home the first of what would become seven Gold Glove Awards.
Sharp as a tack in 1959, Vic led American League first basemen in doubles, triples, RBI, steals, hits and runs scored. Power scored 102 runs while no other AL first baseman was able to eclipse 55. The swing-happy Power led Major League first basemen in hits in 1960; the year he made his final All-Star squad. During the 1961 season, when most batters flourished, Vic scuffled along through his worst season and the Indians sent their flashy first baseman with pitcher Dick Stigman to the Twins for pitcher Pedro Ramos.
Vic found Minnesota to his liking as he rebounded to blast 16 homeruns; eleven more than he tallied in ’61. The following year, his last good season, Power led American League first basemen in doubles. Despite splitting the ’64 season between three stops, and struggling at each locale with the lumber, Vic nevertheless netted his seventh Gold Glove Award. When he managed but a single homerun with the Angels in 1965, the Angels released Power and his career was over.
G 1,627/R 765/H 1,716/2B 290/3B 49/HR 126/RBI 658/SB 45/BB 279/SO 247/BA .284/SA .411/OBP .315