Edward Joseph Popowski (August 20, 1913 – December 4, 2001), nicknamed "Pop," was an American coach and interim manager for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. Popowski spent 65 years in organized baseball — all of them in the Boston organization.
21 years as minor league manager
Only 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m) tall, Popowski, a second baseman, began playing in the Red Sox farm system in 1937 after touring with the barnstorming, semi-professional baseball club "The House of David" as the only non-bearded player on the squad. He never played in the big leagues, but began a 21-year minor league managerial career in 1941 with the Bosox' Centreville, Maryland club in the Class D Eastern Shore League. With time out for U.S. Army service during World War II, he would manage and coach with Red Sox farm teams through 1966. He spent many years managing at the Double-A level, working patiently with Boston prospects. In his only Triple-A managerial role, he was the last skipper in the history of the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association, in 1960.
Not counting his Centreville tenure, Popowski compiled a record of 1,568 wins and 1,357 losses (.536), with four pennants, during his career as a minor league manager. He also served as a coach for the Triple-A Louisville Colonels in 1951–1952.
Major League coach
In 1967, Popowski was promoted to the parent Red Sox as third-base coach under Dick Williams. That season, the Red Sox, who had finished ninth in the ten-team American League in 1966, stunned the baseball world by winning their first pennant since 1946. Popowski was Boston's third-base coach for seven seasons, through 1973, and twice served out a season as acting manager, relieving Williams in 1969 and Eddie Kasko in 1973, the latter for only one game. Popowski won six of the ten big league contests he managed. As a third-base coach, he was notable for flipping the ball behind his back to the pitcher when one came to rest inside his coach's box. He had learned the trick with the House of David.
He continued as Boston's first-base coach in 1974 and was a special assignment coach in 1975, when the Red Sox once again won the American League flag. In 1976, he began the year as a minor league instructor but he returned to the Boston coaching staff to fill the vacancy created in July when Don Zimmer was promoted to manager after the firing of Darrell Johnson. Popowski coached in the dugout and at third base that season.
Active in baseball for 65 years
In 1977, he returned to Boston's farm system for good as a roving infield instructor and coordinator of Boston's extended spring training program. Although his responsibilities were gradually reduced as he grew older, he remained active in the Red Sox system through 2001, and his 88th birthday. A field in Boston's training base at Fort Myers, Florida, was named in his honor.
- Howe News Bureau, Boston Red Sox 1982 Organization Sketch Book
- [Staff. "Red Sox Shift Minor Pilots", The New York Times, December 13, 1947. Accessed February 15, 2011. "The signing of Eddie Popowski of Sayreville, NJ, as 1948 manager was announced today by the Lynn Red Sox of the Class B New England League."
|Boston Red Sox third-base coach
|Boston Red Sox first-base coach