Victor Pellot Power [a.k.a. Vic Power] (born November 1, 1927 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico) was the second black Puerto Rican to play in Major League Baseball and the first Puerto Rican to play in the American League. He is considered by many to be the greatest first baseman to have been born in Puerto Rico.
Pellot was the second child in a family of six. His father died when he was only 13 years old. This turned out to be an ironic event in his life because Pellot's father didn't want him to play baseball and would punish him if he caught him doing so. Now that his father passed away, Pellot was able to play the game he loved. When his mother moved to the City of Caguas, Pellot went to school and graduated from the José Gautier Benítez High School.
In 1946 Pellot started to practice with a local baseball team called the Senadores de San Juan (San Juan Senators) where he learned many of his baseball skills. He was later invited to play for the Criollos de Caguas, where he was spotted by a New York Yankees scout. In 1949 , he left for the City of Chicago and was sent to play for a team in Drummondville, Quebec.
Pellot was signed by the Yankees in 1951, but he was sent to Triple-A Syracuse. In 1953 even though he was the minors batting champion, he was not invited to the Spring training. If the Yankees wouldn't have picked Elston Howard over him, Pellot would've been the first black and Puerto Rican to have been a Yankee. Many Blacks and Puerto Ricans protested in front of the Yankee Stadium in what they believed was a racially motivated decision.
In 1954, Pellot was recruited by the Philadelphia Athletics and thus became the first Puerto Rican to play for that team. Pellot suffered because of the racial discrimination which was so rampant in the nation at that time. He couldn't even stay with the rest of the team at the same hotels nor was he allowed to eat at the same restaurants.
The Athletics moved to Kansas City in 1955, where Pellot came in second place as batting title in that season. In 1958, he was then sent to the Cleveland Indians. In 2000, Cleveland honored Pellot by declaring him to be among its 100 all-time greatest players.
Since it was hard for the sports newscasters to pronounce his last name, Pellot, Victor decided to use his mother's maiden surname, Power. He then became known as Vic Power. Many Puerto Ricans at first falsely thought that Pellot was ashamed of using his hispanic surname and accused him of using an American sounding name for his own self advantage, this however, was not the case. Also, he was often criticized by the press and his peers for fielding the ball using only one hand instead of using both hands. However, this was to become his trade mark.
In 12-season career, Pellot played with the Philadelphia (1954) and Kansas City Athletics (1955-58); Cleveland Indians (1958-61), Minnesota Twins (1962-64), Los Angeles Angels (1964), Philadelphia Phillies (1964) and California Angels (1965).
Before retiring, Pellot won seven Golden Gloves and was selected a seven-time All-Star. He was also voted the Minnesota Twins MVP in 1962. Pellot has the record of having made one or more assists in 16 consecutive games; he shares the record of making two unassisted double plays in one game, and he is one of 11 players to steal base twice in one game, and he also shares the record of being assists leader for six years in a row and of double plays in a single game.
Among the numbers put up by Pellot are the following totals: 1,716 hits and 126 home run, and he was only strikeout 247 times out of 6,046 at bats.
Currently, Pellot lives in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. The City built a ballpark and named it after Pellot, which can be seen from the window of his apartment. During the months of summer, he likes to help the youngsters of the community in their sports skills development. He believes that many of today's youth will stay away from trouble and will have the chance to enter college on sports scholarships.
Victor Pellot Power is considered by many to be one of Puerto Rico's greatest baseball players and a living legend. His baseball career will be part of an American documentary titled "Beisbol", directed by Alan Swyer and narrated by Esai Morales, which will cover the early influences and contributions of hispanics to baseball.
- Career statistics and analysis at Baseball Reference (http://www.baseball-reference.com/p/powervi01.shtml)