Born: July 15, 1908|
Silver Spring, Maryland
Died: November 4, 1948 40) (aged|
|August 3, 1930, for the Washington Senators|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1945, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Runs batted in||327|
|Career highlights and awards|
Powell helped the Yankees win the World Series every year from 1936 to 1939 and batted .455 in the 1936 series. 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 RBIs, 65 stolen bases, 173 walks, a .271 batting average, .320 on-base percentage, .363 slugging percentage, 923 total bases and 43 sacrifice hits.
During a dugout interview in a July 1938 game versus the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park, Powell was asked by WGN radio announcer Bob Elson how he stayed in shape during the offseason; Powell, who claimed to be a policeman in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio (but in reality had only applied without being hired) replied that he kept in shape by "cracking niggers over the head with my blackjack." He was subsequently suspended for 10 days by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, for making "an uncomplimentary reference to a portion of the population." He was later ordered by the Yankees to walk through Harlem as an act of apology, accompanied by noted Black aviator Hubert Julian. Powell was later accused of purposefully colliding with Jewish star Hank Greenberg, costing Greenberg his season after only 12 games with a broken wrist.
In the fall of 1944, during World War II, Powell served as an emergency police officer in Montgomery County, Maryland. He returned to baseball at the start of the 1945 season.
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 1948, Powell was arrested in Washington, D.C. for passing bad checks. He drew a revolver while at a police station 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.