Friday, March 16, 2012

Boog Powell

John Wesley Powell (born August 17, 1941 in Lakeland, Florida) is a former major league first baseman who played for the Baltimore Orioles (1961–74), Cleveland Indians (1975–76) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977). He was with the Orioles’ World Series Champion teams in 1966 and 1970, the American League Champion teams in 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971, and the American League East Division Champion teams in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1974. The 4-time All-Star won the American League's Most Valuable Player award in 1970 and in 1964 posted a .606 slugging percentage to lead the American League. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed, playing first base, outfield, and designated hitter.

Powell currently owns Boog's Barbecue, which sells barbecue sandwiches and ribs in two locations: on Eutaw Street at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. Boog Powell is an avid angler, kicking off the Maryland Fishing season with the governor.

Boog (often misheard for "Boot") Powell joined the Orioles after leading the International League in home runs at Rochester in 1961. He spent his first three seasons in Baltimore as a slow-footed third baseman and left fielder before switching to first base in 1965. At the plate he was an immediate success, hitting 25 home runs in 1963; in 1964 he led the American League in slugging percentage (.606) while blasting a career-high 39 home runs despite missing several weeks because of a broken wrist. He slumped to .248 with 17 home runs in 1965, then won the American League Comeback player of the Year honors in 1966 (.287, 34 home runs, 109 runs batted in) while being hampered by a broken finger.

In 1966, Powell, along with Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson, led the Orioles to the 1966 World Series, where they surprised the baseball world by sweeping the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers in four games to become baseball's world champions.

Before the 1968 season, Powell lamented, "once, just once, I'd like to go through a whole season without an injury." and he did just that, playing over 150 games each of the next three seasons. In 1969 he hit a career-high .304 with 37 home runs and 121 runs batted in, and in 1970 he was the American League Most Valuable Player, hitting 35 home runs with 114 runs batted in and narrowly missing a .300 average on the last day of the season. In the 1970 World Series, Powell homered in the first two games as the Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds in 5 games. Prior to the 1971 season, Powell appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the 1971 baseball preview issue. Powell helped Baltimore to a third straight World Series that year, blasting a pair of home runs in game two of the 1971 American League Championship Series against the up-and-coming Oakland Athletics, but he hit only .111 in the 1971 World Series as Baltimore lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games.

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