Joe Power
Little League Manager

Picture of Joe Powers and BYMC sponsor Angie
 Capuano in 1974.
Angie Capuano presents Joe Power (right) championship team plaque in 1974.

Joe "The Old Pro" Power

Anyone who played in the Brookline baseball program during the fifties, sixties or seventies knew him. He was the old man, balding and grandfather-like, who had a special way of consistently molding groups of fifteen children, aged nine through twelve, into winners, year-in and year-out.

He may not have looked like much, but Joe Power was a baseball scholar, a man who had spent his entire life playing, managing and scouting the sport he loved. In his later years, the Old Pro dedicated his energies to passing on his years of baseball knowledge to those of us who were fortunate enough to play under his care.

Joe Power never advanced past the Minor Leagues as a pitcher, but his knowledge of the sport kept him within arms length of the game for most of his seventy-some years. After retiring from baseball professionally in 1952, he hooked up with the newly formed Brookline Chamber of Commerce Little League as manager of the American Legion team.

The following season, after being reassigned to the Community Center nine, he guided his charges to the league championship, his first of six titles with the Brookline program. After a championship series defeat with Community Center in 1954, he took the reigns of the Kiwanis Club team and led them to three straight championship series appearances (five in a row for Power's led teams), taking the top spot in 1955 and 1957.

Personal difficulties forced Joe Power to sit out the next couple seasons, but he made his return in 1961. The Kiwanis teams of the early sixties were competitive, but couldn't seem to break the stranglehold of the American Legion team, which took the top spot seven of eight years between 1958 and 1965. During that time, Kiwanis changed sponsorship to West Liberty A.A.

After a promising second half in 1966 that fell one run shy of forcing a playoff, the title drought ended. In 1967, B.Y.M.C., the successor to West Liberty A.A., began a remarkable string of victories. Using the same success formula that dominated the decade of the fifties, Mr. Power assembled a talented group of youngsters that went 19-1 for a near-perfect championship season. A 10-0 start and another title followed in 1968. The Old Pro was back in business.

B.Y.M.C. lost championship playoff series' in 1969 and 1970, then rebounded with another title in 1971, which was officially rescinded afterwards due to a player ineligibility problem. A final title (his sixth and last official championship) followed in 1974. On opening day, 1976, Joe Power and fellow BLLA pioneer, Bud Auen, were honored for their twenty-five years of service and dedication to the children of Brookline and the league in general. A near fatal skating accident midway through the 1976 Little League season forced the Old Pro, by now a legend in the Brookline baseball program, to end his coaching run.

Joe Power coaching
 third base during the Opening Day game of the 1976 season

Any of us players who had the honor of playing for Mr. Power will always remember him as a fair man who stressed the fundamentals of the game. We all knew how to bunt and slide, catch with two hands, steal a base and make contact at the plate. Discipline and good manners were also held in high regard. Arguing with an umpire or another player was about the only thing that would cause the mild-mannered coach to lose his cool, and none of us wanted that out of respect for the man. Mr. Power had a way of getting the most out of every boy on his team, from the most talented to the two-inning rightfielder.

In addition to his ability to motivate, Joe Power was a great pitching coach. That was the secret of his success. From the beginning, Power had a succession of talented pitchers who made building a supporting team an easy task. Charlie Watterson, Raymond Auen, Danny McGibbeny, Scotty Drummond, Ron Baumiller, Tom Baginsky, Randy Camarco, Mark Wenger, Clint Burton, Joe Fundo, Bob Beveridge and Shawn Kelly all learned the skills of the pitching trade and brought the club one win after another for two decades.

As one of the above mentioned pitchers, I can testify firsthand to Mr. Power ability to teach a kid how to throw a baseball. He taught me how to throw a palmball that to this day I find the most amazing pitch. It literally made batters look foolish and was so easy to throw. I was taught how to hurl a nasty changeup that was not damaging to the arm and after Little League was instructed how to pitch from the stretch.

Joe Power was the epitome of the youth baseball coach, teaching us everything we needed to know to prepare ourselves, mentally and physically, for the opportunity of progressing to the next level of competition.

I don't remember exactly when Mr. Power passed away. I believe it was somewhere around 1978 or 1979. The skating accident that took him from his familiar post on the third base line also was the beginning of a downward spiral that robbed him of many or his motor skills. A bout with Parkinson's Disease that he had fought for many years was accelerated and finally took his life.

The day the Old Pro passed away was a sad day for the many children and parents of Brookline who had been influenced by his special touch. Joe Power was in many ways like another grandfather to us, and we are better people for having known him.

* Written by Clint Burton - March, 2000 *

Picture of Joe Power with his BYMC team after their
 championship in 1974.

Joe Power (left) and BYMC team at their trophy presentation in 1974. First row, from left, Mike Morgan, Joe Fundo, Barry Griffin, Shawn Kelly, Dan Schumacher, Walt Miller, Bill Toskey. Second row, from left, Joe Power, Coach Nick Rossi, Marty Klos, Clint Burton, Chuck Haley, Tim Gremba, Chuck Warnecke, League President Sam Bryen, Rino Primiero, Bob Beveridge, Coach Jerry Burton and Gerard Loy.

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