Bill Powell (powelbi02)

From BR Bullpen

William Henry Powell

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2½", Weight 195 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Bill Powell pitched for six years in the Negro Leagues (making two All-Star teams) and 10 in the minors (five at AAA or Open classification) yet never made the majors.

Powell did not get into the Negro Leagues until he was already 26 years old, after World War II. He went 3-2 for the 1946 Birmingham Black Barons and improved to 7-0 in 1947. In 1948, he went 11-11 and was third in the Negro American League in wins behind Jim LaMarque and Jimmy Newberry. Bill lost one game in the 1948 Negro World Series as Birmingham fell to the Homestead Grays. Powell started for the West in the first 1948 East-West Game. He allowed only a Jim Gilliam single and Luke Easter walk in three innings, fanning two and tossing one wild pitch. At the plate, he went 0 for 1. LaMarque relieved him in the fourth and Powell got the decision in a 3-0 whitewash for the West.

The right-hander was 7-6 with a 2.83 ERA for the Ponce Lions in the winter of 1949. During the 1949 Caribbean Series, he was 1-1 for the Indios de Mayagüez, with 18 hits in 12 2/3 innings. He got the lone win for the Indios and thus got the first Caribbean Series win for by a Puerto Rican League team. He was 11-11 with a 3.61 ERA for Birmingham in 1949 then had a 1-4, 5.03 record in the Cuban Winter League, while with the Marianao Tigers. Bill went 15-4 with a 3.00 ERA and hit .286 for Birmingham during 1950. In the 1950 East-West Game, Powell relieved Connie Johnson in the 7th and worked the final three innings to save a 5-3 win by the West. He allowed one run, one walk and two hits in three innings while fanning four; at the plate, he was 0 for 1. His stats were nearly identical to the other two West hurlers, Johnson and Webbo Clarke, both of whom would pitch in the major leagues.

Powell gave up 3 hits in 3 1/3 IP in the 1951 Caribbean Series, pitching for the Santurce Crabbers as Santurce won the first title by a Puerto Rican club. Bill went to the minors that year, going 14-8 with a 4.69 ERA for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA for the Sacramento Solons. His 157 strikeouts for Colorado Springs were third in the Western League behind Willard Schmidt and ElRoy Face.

Bill spent all four summers from 1952-1955 in AAA. He was just 5-15 with a 5.09 ERA for the Toledo Mud Hens and Charleston Senators in 1952. He hit .203/.319/.237, not bad for a pitcher. He tied Ray Narleski for third in the American Association in defeats. That winter, he was 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA for Cienfuegos in Cuba. He improved to 14-9, 3.06 for Charleston in 1953. He tied for third n the American Association in wins, behind Gene Conley and Charlie Bicknell. He was also fourth in ERA, behind Conley, Murray Wall and Ken Holcombe. The old-timer split 1954 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Havana Sugar Kings, going a combined 10-8 with a 4.23 ERA. He was just 6-14 with a 5.19 ERA in '55 for Havana and Charleston.

Powell dropped down to the lower minors after that. In 1955, the 36/37-year-old was 8-12 with a 3.14 ERA for the Savannah Redlegs. He went 1-3 with a 5.74 ERA for the 1956 San Antonio Missions then split 1957 between Savannah (2-0) and the Nuevo Laredo Owls (3-7, 3.96, 62 BB in 84 IP). In 1958, he went 7-8 with a 3.70 ERA for the Knoxville Smokies, pacing the South Atlantic League with 70 appearances. He pitched one game for the 1959 Asheville Tourists, sat out 1960 and ended his career in 1961 with the Charlotte Hornets (1-1, 5.87 in 16 outings at age 41/42).

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NAL All-Star (1948)
  • NAL ERA Leader (1946)
  • 2-time NAL Winning Percentage Leader (1946 & 1948)
  • NAL Shutouts Leader (1948)


Related Sites[edit]