San Diego athletic phenom Charlie Powell dies at 82

SAN DIEGO - Charlie Powell, the San Diego sports standout who went on to play professional football, baseball and box with heavyweight champs, has died in San Diego. He was 82.
 
Powell, who became the youngest player in the National Football League at age 19, had been diagnosed with dementia, but the cause of his death was not immediately clear, U-T San Diego reported.
 
Powell, who resided in Altadena in Los Angeles County, was in San Diego over Labor Day weekend for a reunion and died at Scripps Mercy Hospital on Monday.
 
A family member told the newspaper that Powell collapsed at an event at a hotel in Mission Valley Friday night and was hospitalized with severe dehydration.
 
Powell and his younger brother, Art, a former wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders, lived in the Logan Heights neighborhood after moving from Texas. He graduated from San Diego High School in 1952 with a dozen varsity letters.
 
He played professional baseball in the summer of 1952, then signed on to play professional football with the San Francisco 49ers. At 19, he became the youngest player in NFL history.
 
He played with the 49ers for five seasons and then for two with the Oakland Raiders.
 
Powell was the protege of boxing legend Archie Moore, and went into a stint as a professional boxer that included bouts against Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson.
 
He also turned down an offer to play basketball for the Harlem Globetrotters in favor of trying his hand at baseball with the minor league Stockton Ports, according to U-T San Diego.
 
"You talk to anyone who saw him, and they'll tell you he was one of the best athletes they'd ever seen," Art Powell told the Los Angeles Times.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments