July 15, 1908|
Silver Spring, Maryland
|Died: November 4, 1948
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|August 3, 1930 for the Washington Senators|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1945 for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Runs batted in||327|
Alvin Jacob Powell (July 15, 1908 – November 4, 1948) born in Silver Spring, Maryland, was an outfielder for the Washington Senators (1930, 1934–36 and 1943–45), New York Yankees (1936–40) and Philadelphia Phillies (1945).
He helped the Yankees win the World Series every year from 1936 to 1939. In eleven seasons, he played in 688 games and had 2,540 at bats, 353 runs, 689 hits, 116 doubles, 26 triples, 22 home runs, 327 RBI, 65 stolen bases, 173 walks, a .271 batting average, .320 on-base percentage, .363 slugging percentage, 923 total bases and 43 sacrifice hits.
On July 29, 1938, in a pregame radio interview, Chicago White Sox broadcaster Bob Elson asked Powell what he did in the offseason. He replied (falsely) that he was a police officer in Dayton, Ohio. When Elson asked what Powell did to stay in shape, Powell responded that he "cracked niggers over the head with [his] nightstick." After a surge of public outrage, including calls that Powell be banned for life, baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspended Powell for ten games.
In 1948, Powell tried to make a comeback, playing in 31 games for the Gainesville G-Men of the Florida State League, but batted just .220. In November of that year, Powell was arrested in Washington, D.C. for passing bad checks. Distraught and mentally unstable, Powell drew a gun while in police custody and committed suicide.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Chris Lamb, "A Public Slur in '38 Laid Bare The Game's Racism", The New York Times, July 27, 2008.