The Puerto Rican Victor Pellot Power has been one of the most valuable players of first base, a position that has been played byd great Latin players like fellow compatriots Orlando Cepeda and Carlos Delgado, Venezuelan Andres Galarraga, Albert Pujols, the Cuban Athanasius “Tony” Perez, Rod Carew, among others, but unquestionably, nobody was like him. In fact , they called him the “Magic Man.”
Vic Power was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on November 1, 1927. Many say that when his mother, Maximina POVE (surname Power was set by a mistake from a schoolteacher), brought him into the world, he put a first base glove in his hand. Of course, this is just a myth, but remains a good way to illustrate the enormous defensive ability that had this glorious Puerto Rican baseball player play amazingly.
On October 18, 1947, the 20-year-old made his professional debut in the League of Puerto Rico with Criollos de Caguas. Vic Power began to show his great skill as a player, connecting homers in the same game, becoming the first rookie to hit a home run in his debut in the league.
At the conclusion of the season in Puerto Rico, Vic Power went to Canada, taking advantage of the opportunity he convinced Quincy Troupe to play in the Provincial League of Canada that in the Quebec area, where he managed to dazzle thanks to his defensive and offensive skill. From there , his career began to rise sharply.
In Puerto Rico, it’s always said that Vic Power was in the elite of the best Puerto Rican players made up of Roberto Clemente and Orlando ‘Peruchín’ Cepeda, two members of the Hall of Fame. However, he is not in the temple of the immortal, perhaps because when he played, the major league color barrier was broken recently by the legendary Jackie Robinson in 1947, and still had flashes for about 20 years. What we can note is that Victor was the best player of the Puerto Rican 50s in majors. As for the racial situation, Victor was no exception, but was able to endure the discrimination. However, in his native island the poet José Gautier Benítez called him the “The pearl of the seas.” The skin color was not relevant, and they could all play with the same rights and benefits. For that reason, while Victor was active he never stopped participating in a tournament in his beloved Borinquen, all his 16 seasons played with Criollos de Caguas.
Besides having a magical glove, he was also an excellent hitter. In Puerto Rico, he was a batting champion with a .347 average the year he won a championship as a player-manager with the Caguas Criollos in the 1959-1960 season. He had already previously achieved his first batting crown in 1955-56 with a .358 average and led the league in hits with 87. The performance led him to be named the MVP.
For life in the Puerto Rican league, Vic Power had 980 hits, seventh in the list of all time; fourth in doubles (155), sixth in triples (38), third in home runs (55) and RBIs (489), eleventh in runs (463), and ninth in at-bats (3,305). We note that in eight of his 16 seasons, he hit over .300, contributing to the achievement of six championships for Criollos, as well as Manager of the Year honors in the 1959-60 season.
Vic Power was originally signed by the Yankees in 1951, but despite hitting .331 in the minors and .349 in 1951 and 1953, respectively, he was not promoted by them. His major league debut was made on April 13, 1954, but with the Philadelphia Athletics (now Oakland Athletics). He then played for many other teams, such as the Kansas City Royals (1955-1958), Cleveland Indians (1958-1961), Minnesota Twins (1962-1964), Philadelphia Phillies (1964), and Los Angeles Angels (1964-1965).
The July 12, 1955, at County Stadium in Milwaukee, Vic Power became the first Puerto Rican to participate in All-Star Game, the pop-out to the pitcher Don Newcombe in the seventh inning and raised to fail with the first base. He was also the first Puerto Rican to win a Gold Glove, an honor won seven times in a row (1958-1964) as the best defensive first baseman in the American League. On August 14, 1958, in an Indians-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium, he had the audacity to steal home twice in the same match. When asked how he did it, he replied, “Easy, it was dark and they did not see me,” always making the most of every situation and matching the color of his skin. Victor’s lifetime batting average was.284, had 1,716 hits, including 126 homers, and drove in 658 runs in 12 seasons.
In the Caribbean Series, Vic Power shined, participating in eight classic games representing his Island of Enchantment. He was with his original team Caguas (1950, 1954, 1956, 1958, and 1960), San Juan Senators (1952), and Santurce Crabbers (1953 and 1959). Fans enjoyed his talent even in the series of 1959, played in Caracas, Venezuela, when he had to make way for his country man Orlando Cepeda’s bat; Victor played second base. Curiously, he established defensive records (more outs in a game with 8), showing once again his versatility as a player. Equally, he set a record for hits connected for life (at the time), with 50. In addition, he had 9 steals in a game in 1958.
Vic Power is not in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but is found in other museums of similar baseball importance: The Hall of Fame Caguas and Arecibo Puerto Rico Professional Baseball. Also, he is in the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame of the Caribbean Series.