CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Appalachian League announced four new members have been elected into the Appalachian League Hall of Fame. The 2023 HOF class includes former Major League player Darryl Strawberry, current Major League manager Bruce Bochy, former Major League manager Charlie Manuel and former Major League player John “Boog” Powell.
"It is truly an honor to announce our 2023 class of the Appalachian League Hall of Fame,” said Bristol State Liners President/GM and Appalachian League HOF Committee Chairman Mahlon Luttrell. “These four individuals are being recognized for their valuable contributions to the continued development and success of the Appalachian League.”
Strawberry began his professional career playing for the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League in 1980 after the Mets selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in that year’s MLB Draft. In his 44 games with Kingsport that year, Strawberry batted .268 with five home runs and 20 RBIs. The 1983 NL Rookie of the Year won three World Series championships with the New York Mets (1986) and Yankees (1996, 1999), earning eight All-Star selections and two Silver Slugger Awards. Strawberry finished his 16-year career with 335 home runs, 1,000 RBIs and 221 stolen bases.
“When you think about baseball, you have to start somewhere, and I think a lot of memories that you have about where you played like Kingsport – that was the beginning of do you know or don’t you know what you’re going to be. My manager, Chuck Hiller, said just come here and play baseball, and this is just the beginning where you start to learn how to be a professional athlete.” ~ Darryl Strawberry
Bochy played with the Covington Astros of the Appalachian League in 1975, hitting .338 with four home runs and 34 RBIs. Bochy then went on to play nine Major League seasons with the Houston Astros (1978-80), New York Mets (1982) and San Diego Padres (1984-87). He won the 1996 National League Manager of the Year Award after leading the San Diego Padres to a division-best 91-71 record. Bochy later managed the San Francisco Giants, guiding them to three World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He currently manages the Texas Rangers and is the only manager in Major League history to win 900 games for two teams.
"I am honored to be selected for the Appalachian League Hall of Fame's Class of 2023. I have many great memories from that season in Covington, where I enjoyed getting my first taste of professional baseball. I will always be grateful for my time in the league and the mentorship of manager Billy Smith. It is truly a privilege to join such a distinguished group of inductees." ~ Bruce Bochy
Manuel played for the Wytheville Twins in the 1963 Appalachian League, hitting .358 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs in 58 games. Manuel had a 12-year professional baseball career, playing for the Minnesota Twins (1969-72), Los Angeles Dodgers (1974-75) and in Japan (1976-81). He finished his playing career with a .250 average, 193 home runs and 534 RBIs. Manuel transitioned to a managerial role with Cleveland from 2000-02 and served as the Philadelphia Philadelphia’s skipper from 2005-13. With Philadelphia, Manuel led them to five consecutive NL East titles (2007-11), back-to-back pennants (2008-09) and a 2008 World Series title. He finished his managerial career as Philadelphia’s winningest manager with 780 wins.
John “Boog” Powell
Powell played for the Bluefield Orioles in the 1959 Appalachian League. That season, he led the league with a .351 average while recording an on-base percentage of .410 and a .462 slugging percentage. Powell also topped the league with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs. He was a four-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion (1966, 1970) and the 1970 MVP Award winner during his 17-year Major League career with the Baltimore Orioles (1961-74), Cleveland (1975-76) and the Dodgers (1977). Powell retired with 1,776 hits and 339 home runs, playing 2,042 games.
“I am honored to be inducted into the Appalachian League Hall of Fame. As a young man just out of high school, Bluefield was quintessential small-town-USA and a wonderful place for me to go and learn my trade. I had a great year there, and if I had been able to play my whole career in Bluefield, I think I would’ve hit 900 home runs!” ~ John “Boog” Powell