Friday, October 18, 2019

1956 Topps #67 Vic Power

This a crossover post from my other blog, chronicling each card in the wonderful 1956 Topps set. Today's post features former Phillies first baseman Vic Power.  Please click on over there for all of the posts to date, including a look at all the Phillies Alumni featured in the set.

Victor Pellot Power
Kansas City Athletics
First Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  186
Born:  November 1, 1927, Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Acquired:  Purchased by the New York Yankees from Drummondville (Provincial) before 1951 season
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Athletics 1954; Kansas City Athletics 1955-1958; Cleveland Indians 1958-1961; Minnesota Twins 1962-1964; Los Angeles Angels 1964; Philadelphia Phillies 1964; California Angels 1965
Died:  November 29, 2005, Bayamon, Puerto Rico (age 78)

Vic Power, who assumed that name for American baseball but used his actual name of Vic Pellot when playing in Puerto Rico, played for 12 years in the Majors, making the All-Star team in four seasons and winning seven consecutive Gold Gloves for his defense at first base.  Traded by the Yankees to the Philadelphia A's in December 1953, he was the first player of Puerto Rican descent to play for the club.  Despite the rampant racial discrimination he experienced during his early playing days, Power became a star with the A's and later the Indians, second only to Roberto Clemente (#33) in popularity back in his native Puerto Rico.

Power accumulated 126 career home runs and 658 RBIs while hitting .284, finishing in the top ten for hits in the American League in five different seasons.  Power never played in the postseason, getting closest to winning pennants with the 1959 Indians, the 1962 Twins and the 1964 Phillies, all teams that finished in second place.  He retired at the age of 37 following the 1965 season in which he hit .259 over 124 games for the Angels.

Building the Set
October 3, 1999 in Raleigh, NC - Card #183
We bought this card on October 3rd at the Raleigh Sports Card Show, and it ended up being part of a birthday present to me from my Dad.  I was still living in Raleigh in late 1999, and my parents made the trip south to visit me for my birthday.  We bought 8 cards that day (that I knew about) paying $5 for seven of the cards, including this Power card, and $2 for the Grady Hatton (#26) card.  Unbeknownst to me, my Dad also purchased the Sandy Koufax card (#79) but squirreled that one away until Christmas morning 1999.

The Card
Power appears to be out at a play at the plate, and my best guess at the catcher is Sammy White (#168) who wore #22 and was the primary catcher for the Red Sox in 1955.  The Tigers' Frank House (#32) is also a possibility as he wore #2.  The head shot of Power is the same used on his 1954 and 1955 Topps cards, and it appears as if the photo features him in a Yankees uniform with the blue pinstripes still visible.

On the back of the card, Topps skims four years off Power's age, stating he was born in 1931 while all other current sources show his birth year as 1927.

1956 Season
Power enjoyed his second All-Star season in 1956, hitting .319 with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs. 
Despite an impressive line-up consisting of Power, third baseman Hector Lopez (#16) and right fielder Harry Simpson (#239), the A's finished in last place in the American League with a record of 52-102.

Phillies Career
On September 9, 1964, the Phillies acquired Power from the Angels for a player to be named later and cash.  The Phillies would send pitcher Marcelino Lopez to the Angels a month later to complete the deal.  The Phillies' regular first baseman, Frank Thomas (#153), had broken his thumb and Power was seen as a right-handed hitting compliment at the position to the left-handed hitting John Herrnstein.

Power became the second player in Phillies franchise history to wear #62, as the number had been worn earlier in the season by rookie pitcher Rick Wise.  Relief pitchers Ken Roberts and Patrick Schuster wore the number for the Phillies in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Power's month with the Phillies allowed him to witness one of the worst collapses in professional sports history as the team had a 6 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals on September 20th, but ended up finishing the season in second place.  Power hit .208 (10 for 48) over 18 games with four doubles and three RBIs, starting 11 of those games at first base.  Following the season, the Phillies sold Power back to the Angels.

He has one Phillies "baseball card" to his name, having appeared within the 1964 Philadelphia Bulletin Phillies Album series.

1954 Topps #52
1957 Topps #167
1959 Topps #229
1963 Topps #40
1966 Topps #192
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1954 Topps #52
First Topps Card:  1954 Topps #52
Representative Phillies Card:  1964 Philadelphia Bulletin Phillies Album
Last Topps Card:  1966 Topps #192
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1994 Topps Archives 1954 #52

77 - Power non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/15/19.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Phillies Room
The Trading Card Database

In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year.  Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.


Jim from Downingtown said...

On his 1966 card his position is noted as 1B-INF, which seem odd since first base IS in the infield.

The Shlabotnik Report said...

Yesterday was apparently Vic Power Day, since I featured the 1957 Topps Vic Power on my blog as well. :-D