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Vic Power, at 78; winner of Gold Glove seven times

BAYAMON, Puerto Rico -- Vic Power, a flashy fielding All-Star and the last major leaguer to steal home twice in a game, died yesterday of cancer. He was 78.

A four-time All-Star who won seven Gold Gloves at first base from 1958 to 1964, Mr. Power was known for his showy, one-handed snags. He hit .284 with 126 home runs and 658 RBIs in a 12-year career, mostly with the Athletics, Indians, and Twins.

''I think Vic was one of the best-fielding first basemen of all-time," former Indians roommate Mudcat Grant said yesterday. ''He'd catch balls on one hop, two hops, all sorts of ways.

''I remember once when he missed a popup over his head, down the right-field line. After the game, he took his glove into the clubhouse and cut it into little bitty pieces," Grant said. ''He said he didn't need that glove anymore."

Mr. Power achieved a rare feat in 1958, becoming among only a handful of players to steal home twice in the same game. His swipe in the 10th inning led Cleveland over Detroit 10-9 -- curiously, Mr. Power had only three steals the whole season.

Mr. Power was flamboyant on the field and off. He drove a Cadillac, listened to all kinds of music, and liked to visit museums.

''He liked life," said Grant, a pitcher. ''He'd blow kisses to fans in the stands. And when I roomed with him, you never knew about Vic. He might come in right after the game, and he might come in four hours later."

Born in Arecibo, Mr. Power was among the first Hispanic players in the majors. Traded from the New York Yankees' farm system in December 1953, he made his big league debut in 1954 with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Mr. Power went with the A's when they moved to Kansas City in 1955, and he was traded to Cleveland for Roger Maris in the middle of the 1958 season. That year, Mr. Power became the Indians' first Gold Glove winner.

He also played for Minnesota, the Los Angeles Angels, and Philadelphia Phillies, and he finished his career with California in 1965.

Later, he played first and third base and worked as a manager in the Puerto Rican league.

In 1985, while managing the Caguas franchise, Mr. Power was suspended for the season's final week and fined $1,000 for punching an umpire. That led to a strike by umpires, who said he should have received a longer suspension and been declared ineligible for the playoffs.

After his retirement, Mr. Power set up a baseball academy for young players.

Mr. Power had five siblings and 13 children, 11 of whom are still living, said his son, Victor Hugo Pellot. Funeral arrangements are pending, his family said.

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