April 22, 1870|
|Died: April 26, 1909
|July 12, 1898 for the Louisville Colonels|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 12, 1909 for the Philadelphia Athletics|
|Runs batted in||199|
Michael Riley "Doc" Powers (April 22, 1870 – April 26, 1909) was an American Major League Baseball player who caught for four different teams from 1898 to 1909. He played for the Louisville Colonels and Washington Senators of the National League, and the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Highlanders of the American League. He played college baseball at the University of Notre Dame in 1897 and 1898. His nickname was derived from the fact that he was a licensed physician as well as a ballplayer. During a brief stint with the New York Highlanders in 1905, Powers caught while Jim "Doc" Newton pitched, creating the only known example of a two-physician battery in Major League history.
On April 12, 1909, Powers was injured during the first game played in Philadelphia's Shibe Park, crashing into a wall while chasing a foul pop-up. He sustained internal injuries from the collision and died two weeks later from complications from three intestinal surgeries, becoming possibly the first Major Leaguer to suffer an on-field injury that eventually led to his death (though Powers himself said that he had become ill as a result of eating a cheese sandwich before the game). The immediate cause of death was peritonitis arising from post-surgery infections.
Eleven years later, Ray Chapman became the only MLB player to be directly killed by an on-field injury when he was hit in the head by a pitch. Powers' injury may have served as the inspiration for that suffered by "Bump" Bailey, a minor character in Bernard Malamud's novel The Natural, as well as its subsequent film adaptation.[original research?]
- Stew Thornley, Land of the Giants: New York's Polo Grounds (Temple University Press, 2000), p75
- Merron, Jeff (June 22, 2002). "Major Leaguers Who Died In-Season". espn.com
- Thornley, p75
- "Michael Riley "Doc" Powers". Find a Grace. Retrieved 9 December 2012.