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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Celebrating 60: Boog Powell was big part of Orioles’ dominance in 1960s, 1970s

The 1971 season was Powell’s last All-Star season. He played three more for the Orioles and then after the 1974 season, he was traded to Cleveland in a deal that brought Dave Duncan to Baltimore.

“I felt awful, disappointed,’’ Powell says. “I had deep roots in Baltimore.’‘

Powell had injury issues with his shoulder in his final seasons in Baltimore, but in 1975, he was healthy, leading to 27 home runs with 86 RBIs for the Indians. The Orioles won 90 games, but finished second in the AL East to Boston. The Orioles were seventh in run production and seventh in home-run production in the 12-team American League.

One time after the trade, Powell met Orioles manager Earl Weaver in an Anaheim bar as the two teams played back-to-back series versus the Angels.

“I told him, ‘You pulled the trigger on me too quickly; you could have had one more if you had kept me,’ ‘’ Powell says. “Earl didn’t say a word.’‘

Chances are Weaver knew Powell was correct.

Wuh, Earl was too polluted to say Lee May?

Repoz Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:42 AM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, orioles

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   1. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4726480)
Did he always hear the "G"???
   2. Greg K Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4726481)
Up until last year I always thought Boog Powell was black. Not sure where I got that idea.
   3. toratoratora Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4726484)
Hmmm, the O's won 90 in 75 but the Sox won 95 so Boog needs to be 5 games better than May.
Problem is that while Boog was hitting 27 HR in 75, May hit an adequate 20 HR .262/.308/.424/.732, good for a 111 OPS+. May had 1.8 WAR (Hurt largely by positional adjustment and Rdp) Boog was worth 4.1 so that wouldn't have made up the difference. The thing that really hurt the 75 O's wasn't Powell's absence but that they underperformed their Pythag by five games. Despite tearing down the stretch, the team was unable to overcome a 16-26 start in which the staff game up five or more runs 7 times.
Despite his protestations, the trade would have been easy to make.The fall from MVP had been fast and hard. Since 70, his WAR is 3.6/2.4/2.2/1.3 so he had regressed to sub-replacement level player in the previous year. Also, 75 was his dead cat bounce. Two quick seasons worth -.05 and 0 WAR followed before Boog retired.
All that said, Boog was, and remains, a tremendously popular figure in Charm City-always seen as a working class type guy in a blue collar town. I remember sitting in Memorial many nights as a kid, watching that immense man stride to the plate. the deep "Booooog" cry raining down.
   4. Dale Berra of Seville (was Rennie's Tenet) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4726490)
Always nice to hear from the forgotten Alou brother.
   5. Hank G. Posted: June 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4726505)
The fall from MVP had been fast and hard. Since 70, his WAR is 3.6/2.4/2.2/1.3 so he had regressed to sub-replacement level player in the previous year.


Well, no. 1.3 WAR is 1.3 wins above replacement. He was slightly below average, but he was still above replacement level. He didn’t go under replacement level until 1976.

That doesn’t negate the fact that he was steadily trending downward, so the trade decision probably was an easy one.
   6. Rough Carrigan Posted: June 15, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4726586)
#2. From umpire Jim Honochick?

(You have to have seen those old Lite beer from Miller commercials)

Also, why is the comparison necessarily between Powell and May? What about comparing Powell (or May) to whomever the Orioles were using as DH?
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 15, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4726608)
Up until last year I always thought Boog Powell was black.

Maybe we need some kind of MLB history test before folks are allowed to post here? It's one thing for these kids to miss Powell's entire career, but all those Miller Lite commercials, and the feature reports on Boog's Barbecue anytime there is a nationally broadcast game from Camden Yards? <sigh>
   8. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4726622)
I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with YC. Nothing against Greg K, other than his being Canadian & a fox, but good grief.

(The fact that I've been wrong about the races of any number of players active over the last decade or so is, of course, utterly irrelevant. Also, I mowed the front yard yesterday evening, so get off it.)

   9. Greg K Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4726642)
Also, I mowed the front yard yesterday evening, so get off it.

I mowed mine a couple hours ago, so there!

It is especially odd because it's not like Powell was a player I was unfamiliar with. I always remember the entry about him in Bill James' Historical Abstract, and he was retired by then, but I recall him popping up in Dan Okrent's Nine Innings, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It probably stems from the fact that I have a terrible memory. I'm constantly having to invent details about things I've seen or read in order to have any kind of coherent memories. Then I quickly forget which are the genuine details, and which are the added colour that fill out the scene. Or maybe I just assumed Asafa Powell was Boog Powell's son.

To be fair, until this season I'm not sure there was ever a time in my adult life that anyone would bother broadcasting an Orioles game nationally.
   10. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4726656)
I mowed mine a couple hours ago, so there!


And I will be mowing my back yard a couple hours from now, you slacker. (It's a small yard, thankfully; the front takes probably 15 minutes, tops, & the back about the same. Even so, I've been splitting the mowing between days the last month or so because the last time I didn't, I woke up in the middle of the night with absolutely horrendous back spasms that kept coming for something like 4 hours & were accompanied by my discovery that my stash of Hydrocodone* had apparently vanished into thin air over the last few months. Hadn't had anything even remotely like that happen in some 33 years. Almost certainly a coincidence &/or an indication of some sort of kidney stone, but still.)



*Detectives wonder whether cats were somehow involved.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4726675)
I'm constantly having to invent details about things I've seen or read in order to have any kind of coherent memories. Then I quickly forget which are the genuine details, and which are the added colour that fill out the scene.

Herodotus said much the same to Thucydides, or so I imagine.
   12. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4726683)
Or maybe I just assumed Asafa Powell was Boog Powell's son.


Or Boog was Hosken's older brother.

One of my father's best friends pitched in the minors. He loved telling the story of the fat kid who stepped up to the plate, the pitcher convinced he was going to blow one past him.

"That ball's still going," he said of the massive homer Boog hit.
   13. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4726737)
Had Boog remained with the Orioles for one more season, would Reggie have spent 1976 in Baltimore?
   14. Walt Davis Posted: June 15, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4726755)
What about comparing Powell (or May) to whomever the Orioles were using as DH?

Mostly Tommy Davis and, yeah, that was a disaster. And talk about declining WAR ... 1.1 WAR in 73, .7 in 74, down to .6 in 75. If your choice was between Boog and Davis, you'd definitely take Boog. And they got a declining Dave Duncan for Boog.

According to b-r, GM Frank Cashen resigned at the end of the year.

It was an Earl team and I'm sure Baylor and Singleton also spent reasonable time at DH with Bumbry and Northrup in the lineup. A heavily RH lineup though so another reason to keep Powell. So much playing time for Duncan (70 OPS+), Belanger (64), Brooks (58) and Blair (62) really cramped the offense.
   15. Coot Veal and Cot Deal's cols=“100” rows=“20” Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4726900)
I'm glad there was Boog Powell.
   16. Flack42 Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4727506)
Also, I mowed the front yard yesterday evening, so get off it.)


I live in Manhattan and haven't mowed a lawn in over 30 years. Nor shoveled snow. Nor have a nostalgic desire to do either.
   17. Batman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4727507)
Glad that this isn't another obituary.
   18. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4727603)
I used to think it was weird when a baseball fan would say, "I had no idea Player X was white" until I realized that not everyone collected baseball cards when they were growing up like I did. I'm sure without them I would have been painting a completely different image of certain players in my head. Who knows how I would've imagined a guy named Boog.
   19. Greg K Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4727704)
I used to think it was weird when a baseball fan would say, "I had no idea Player X was white" until I realized that not everyone collected baseball cards when they were growing up like I did. I'm sure without them I would have been painting a completely different image of certain players in my head. Who knows how I would've imagined a guy named Boog.

Baseball cards are probably why I'm pretty solid on anyone who played from 1990 on. Though I suppose in recent years mlb.tv has taken over as the source of my race knowledge.
   20. Greg K Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4727707)
It's amazing how solid a line 1990 is. I have no idea what Glenn Hubbard (retired 1989 and a regular for several years) looks like, but Tom Lawless (he of 500 PA who retired in 1990) I can still picture his Donruss 1990 card. It was of him leading off from first base with a Jeff Kent-ish moustahce. In fact, that card is so ingrained in my mind that I've always thought of him as a career pinch runner, probably based entirely from that picture.

EDIT: He may actually have been a pinch runner. In 1989 he hit 15 singles, drew 7 walks, and stole 12 bases. That seems like a fairly high ratio of SB to times he reached first.
   21. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4727711)
Baseball cards are probably why I'm pretty solid on anyone who played from 1990 on.


Which is why I'm particularly solid on Powell & anyone else from the 1970-71 Topps sets in particular. I can think of know other reason why I'd know Boog's full name (John Wesley Powell) as well as I know my own; ditto for any number of other players.
   22. bjhanke Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4727741)
When he was with the Cardinals, playing for Whitey Herzog, Tom Lawless was more or less a pinch-runner. He was the 25th man on the roster. He was only there because he could play SS (actually, pretty much anywhere but catcher), so he was the desperation injury backup, because he was fast, because he could bunt well, and because he was happy to be the last man on a MLB roster instead of the best guy on his AAA team. Whitey had a VERY structured idea of what a MLB roster looked like. He had very strong ideas about what kind of player would make a good 25th man. Lawless was pretty much Whitey's definition of the role. I'm serious, BTW.Whitey's idea of roster structure extended to having a firm idea of the role of the 25th man. Whitey was a control freak at times, but a lot of why he could win as often as he did was that his team always had a roster that worked for Whitey. There was nobody there who was just there because he was available and you have to fill the 25 slots somehow. - Brock Hanke
   23. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4727794)
I can think of know other reason why I'd know Boog's full name (John Wesley Powell) as well as I know my own;

when he first came up, the Indians' announcers always called him "John Boog Powell". Then, after he got established, he was just plain "Boog"
   24. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4727830)
Up until last year I always thought Boog Powell was black. Not sure where I got that idea.

Me too, but until 6 or 8 years ago. Maybe a charismatic power hitter, from the 70s, seems more likely to be African-American for some reason. Like...Willie Stargell. And Reggie Jackson. And Willie McCovey. And Jimmy Wynn. And Bobby Bonds. And Jim Rice and Dave Parker. And Dick Allen. And George Foster, for some values of "charismatic". I guess Powell was older than most of those guys.

I also thought Steve Jeltz was white, though that probably puts me in a huge majority. I mean, his name is "Steve Jeltz". Next you'll be telling me Rick Reuschel was black, or Len Matuszak, or John Montefusco.

Or maybe I just assumed Asafa Powell was Boog Powell's son.

And Colin Powell is his brother.
   25. Greg K Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4728146)
I also thought Steve Jeltz was white, though that probably puts me in a huge majority. I mean, his name is "Steve Jeltz". Next you'll be telling me Rick Reuschel was black, or Len Matuszak, or John Montefusco.

It's probably my Donruss '90 set memorization coming up again, but my initial reaction is "Steve Jeltz white? That's craaaazy!"

Followed quickly by reaction #2 "why do I remember Steve Jeltz?"
   26. GEB4000 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4728716)
Boog had injury issues? I thought he was struggling with fatass disease. I still remember his bloated image in an Indians uniform on a throw away baseball card.
   27. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4728723)
Get to the point you rubes, how is his BBQ?
   28. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4728731)
Wherein gef the talking mongoose learns that Steve Jeltz was not white.

(And probably still isn't, absent a galloping case of Sammy Sosa's Disease.)
   29. BDC Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4728734)
Anybody have a similar issue with remembering whether a player is right- or left-handed? I think I mentioned in some previous thread being convinced that Felix Hernandez is a lefthander, which is weird because I've seen him play several times in person (and weirder because I can tell you that Hippo Vaughn and Wilbur Cooper were lefthanders without a moment's hesitation). But seriously, shouldn't a guy with a name like Felix Hernandez throw left-handed?
   30. Batman Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4728754)
But seriously, shouldn't a guy with a name like Felix Hernandez throw left-handed?
He should either be a utility infielder or a left-handed middle reliever.
   31. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4728755)
I can never remember if someone is left-handed unless they are specifically known for being left-handed, as in, say, Lefty Grove.
   32. tfbg9 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4728787)
Does anyone recall a weird tall tale kind of a short story that appeared in Sports Illustrated back in Boog's heyday, in which he was the featured "character", or at least a greatly exaggerated version of Powell was?

I remember reading it in our backyard as a kid.
   33. Dale Berra of Seville (was Rennie's Tenet) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4728796)
Steve Jeltz is black, Skip Jutze is the white guy. There was mention in some thread recently about a guy who couldn't hit but still walked all the time, and Jeltz is another one, .210 average, .308 OBP.

Does anyone know if Boog's given name came from the theologian, the explorer, or neither?
   34. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4728797)
Very much so, tbfg9. I think it was styled as a musical, even. Part of the conceit was Boog wondering whether he could hit .500. Might've been written by Frank Deford.

I remember reading it in an SI in the junior high library, so circa 1971.
   35. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4728799)
Lo & behold.

Turns out the writer was Bob Ottum. Don't know much about him, but I do own a novel he wrote, I believe called All Right, Everybody Off the Planet. Unless I'm thinking of someone entirely different.

(Looking at the cover gallery, I see I didn't start subbing till 3 months later.)
   36. BDC Posted: June 17, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4728801)
I never heard of that story by Ottum before. But I am sure I was subscribing in those years (hard to forget some of those swimsuit issues). Will have to catalog that one in my Guide – thanks, everybody.
   37. tfbg9 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4728821)
Haha, thanks gef. I didn't remember the musical aspect. July 19th 1971 issue, summer between 4th and 5th grade.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:19 PM (#4728920)
"I used to think it was weird when a baseball fan would say, "I had no idea Player X was white" until I realized that not everyone collected baseball cards when they were growing up like I did."

that worked, but now I fail on my (irrelevant) guesses all the time, not seeing many games.
I've picked up the Pirates' Josh Harrison 3 times in the last 2 yrs for my fantasy team, and had no idea. also guessed wrong on cup of coffee Joey Butler, and have no idea re current player Ryan Wheeler.

also missed last yr on my Alex Presley and Derrick Robinson.
I also guessed wrong on a rival team's Charlie Blackmon (he's not).

it's funny as long as we don't actually care about the "flavor." and who does anymore?

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