Jim Powers Jr., Greatest Saint of All Time

This week’s Hall of Famer is Jim Powers Jr., perhaps the best all around athlete ever to

come out of St. Bernard.  Powers was an all-state football and baseball player at SB, while also

scoring a 1,000 points in basketball.  He is one of the most fierce competitors I have ever

been around, and he is revered by those who played for him when he coached the Saints baseball

program from 1983-2002.  He has been a teacher and a coach at St. Bernard for over 35 years since

retiring from professional baseball.  He was drafted by the Red Sox and played 5 years for them, along

with 2 more with the Twins before retiring after reaching Double-A.  Powers also coached football and

basketball at SB during his career, as well as softball.  Having played for him and worked with him, I can

say he is the most humble great athlete {present or former} that I have ever met.  He always signs his

name or ends an email “Powers, Jr” which is a sign of respect to his late father, who dedicated his life to

St. Bernard and to whom the current gymnasium is named after.  Powers Jr. graduated from St. Bernard

1967, and his family is etched in school history.   He has had 18 relatives attend SB, including his own

kids, and 2 cousins who are currently students.  He never once bragged to us how good he

was, or what he accomplished during his playing days.  His sarcasm and wit, mixed in with a

mid-practice history lesson are stuff that will live on forever for those that know him.  Instead he always

wanted his kids to focus on playing hard, not making excuses, and competing to win regardless of the

situation.  When a person thinks of St. Bernard or SB athletics, Jim Powers Jr. is a name that comes to

mind immediately.  Many of the kids up there today think of Mr. Powers simply as one of their teachers,

what they don’t know is that he is simply as good as it gets in the history of St. Bernard Athletics.

 

Bill Buscetto: What are some of your favorite memories playing sports at SB and professionally?

 

Powers Jr: As a player, football, basketball, and baseball teams while I was at SBHS, all won conference

titles and competed for state titles in sports that allowed it. Professionally, 1970 Greenville Red Sox had

a bunch of notable players ( I was not one of them ) such as Dwight Evans, Rick Burleson and a couple of

pitchers who went on to fame. 1967 Pittsfield Red Sox, Ken Brett, Gerry Moses and a lot of other great

players. Coached, any team at SBHS, football, baseball, basketball( boys or girls), softball. Our baseball

teams from 1986-1991 when we competed in the ACC which was most of the Catholic schools.

BB: Who is your favorite athlete today?

PJ: Any athlete that works hard and is humble.

BB:  If you could trade places with any athlete, who would it be?

PJ:  Trade places- None, I competed with them but would not change my situation with anyone.

BB: What is up next for you?

PJ: Suppose at some point we have funeral to look at {those who know Powers can appreciate the wry sense of humor} but other than that work until retirement and at that point a lot of golf and cooking, BBQ’ing and baking.

BB: What were some of the best games you were involved in?

PJ: All the Acc baseball games from 1986-1991 very competitive. As a player, my junior year against Xavier in Middletown 1965, football, I had a pretty good day.

BB: Who were the best athletes that you ever saw play?

PJ:  Three, Ken Brett, Noel Jenke with the Red Sox and our own John Ellis. As you know, once you get across the Connecticut river the world of competitive sports changes. For years I have talked about the Southeastern Connecticut Syndrom, which means many people in this area do not know what talent is on the other side of the river.

BB:  Is there one significant moment that you remember more than any other in sports?

PJ: When Ted Williams at spring training was doing the famous article on  hitting. He told the pitcher to throw the ball anywhere in the strike zone, the kid started throwing BP to him and Mr. Williams erupted, which he had a knack to do, and said “pitch a game!”  He then took twenty straight pitches, in all the zones, and then hit a shot to left and said,  “Meats, if I wanted to hit .400 every year that is all I had to do  but I was paid to do other things” and then drove the next pitch 420 over the right center wall.

BB:  Do you have any crazy umpire stories?

PJ: No really crazy umpire story- whatever they said was ok.  At the end of the game there was always something we could of done to make the call not important.

BB: Thanks Coach, congrats on a great career.

4 responses to “Jim Powers Jr., Greatest Saint of All Time”

  1. JJ says:

    Great article Bill and honor for Coach Powers,Jr. One of my all time favorite people. Very lucky to have played for him and to know him as a person.

  2. Tommy O says:

    Love hearing about the legendary Saints! I remember in high school when we all thought we were pretty good and Mr. Powers would over hear us talking in the hallways or he would watch us in gym or in practice and he would put his head down and chuckle. I always wondered what he was thinking. Well, once reality set in after graduating I finally realized what he was thinking… it was how he would eat us alive if we played against him!!

  3. PG says:

    It would be great if the kids at St b learned the biggest lesson of all from coach p. Humility. He was a hell of an athlete n you’d never know it

  4. Dan D says:

    Haha….I remember coach down on one knee with the fungo telling us that very same Ted Williams story. Good times.

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