Abner Powell

Abner Charles Powell (December 15, 1860, in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania – August 7, 1953, in New Orleans) was a Major League Baseball player who was a member of the Washington Nationals of the Union Association in 1884. He later played for the Baltimore Orioles and the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1886. He also managed and owned several teams, and he is best known for his innovations as a manager.

Abner Powell
Powell, Abner.jpg
Born: (1860-12-15)December 15, 1860
Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Died: August 7, 1953(1953-08-07) (aged 92)
New Orleans
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 4, 1884, for the Washington Nationals
Last MLB appearance
October 13, 1886, for the Cincinnati Red Stockings (AA)
MLB statistics
Earned run average4.00


Powell at center in suit with the 1902 New Orleans Pelicans

Powell is credited with various innovations that changed baseball, though in many cases this is incorrect or overstated.[1] He is incorrectly credited with inventing rain checks and "ladies' day", but both of these were in use in New Orleans before Powell. However, Powell did improve the existing rain check, adding a perforated stub to ticket when sold so that only purchasers of tickets (and not other spectators, notably free-riders and fence-climbers) could get a new ticket.[2][3]

The idea of Ladies Day was to create an environment in the stands free of unsavory characters and conduct, as well as to make baseball a family-oriented event; it dates at least to 1880 in New Orleans,[1] and the practice is still in place today.[citation needed] Powell scheduled a recurring Ladies Day on April 29 of 1887.[citation needed]

Powell is also credited with using an infield tarpaulin so that fields could be ready immediately after rain storms.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Somers, Dale A. The Rise of Sports in New Orleans: 1850-1900. p. 132.
  2. ^ Morris, Peter. "15.1.3 Rain Checks". A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball. pp. 411–412.
  3. ^ Flanagan, Val J. (April 8, 1943). "Rain-Check Evolved to Check Flood of Fence-Climbers, Says Originator, Now 83". Sporting News.

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