Joe Sewell

Joseph Wheeler Sewell (October 9, 1898 – March 6, 1990) was a Major League Baseball infielder for the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.[1]

Sewell holds the record for the lowest strikeout rate in major league history, striking out on average only once every 62.5 at-bats,[2] and the most consecutive games without a strikeout, at 115.

Joe Sewell
Joe Sewell
Sewell c. 1921
Shortstop / Third baseman
Born: October 9, 1898
Titus, Alabama
Died: March 6, 1990 (aged 91)
Mobile, Alabama
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 10, 1920, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
September 24, 1933, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Batting average.312
Home runs49
Runs batted in1,055
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodVeteran's Committee


Born in Titus, Alabama, Sewell lettered in college football at the University of Alabama in 1917, 1918, and 1919.[3] He led the school baseball team to four conference titles before joining the minor league New Orleans Pelicans in 1920, where he played a partial season before being called up to the "big league".[4]

Sewell made his major league debut mid-season in 1920 with the World Series champion Cleveland Indians shortly after shortstop Ray Chapman was killed by a pitch from the Yankees’ Carl Mays in August and became the team's full-time shortstop the following year.[1] An emerging star, Sewell batted .318 with 101 runs, 93 RBIs and a .412 on-base percentage in 1921.[5]

Sewell's patience and daily work ethic became his hallmarks over the following decade and a half. Playing with Cleveland until 1930 and the New York Yankees from 1931 to 1933, Sewell batted .312 with 1,141 runs, 1,055 RBI, 49 home runs and a .391 on-base percentage. He regularly scored 90 or more runs a season and twice topped the 100 RBI plateau. He hit a career high 11 home runs in 1932.[5]

Sewell struck out 114 times in 7,132 career at-bats for an average of one strikeout every 62.5 at-bats, second only to Willie Keeler (63.1). He also holds the single-season record for fewest strikeouts over a full season, with 3, set in 1932. Sewell also had 3 strikeouts in 1930, albeit in just 353 at-bats (as opposed to 503 in his record-setting year), as well as three other full seasons (1925, 1929, 1933) with 4 strikeouts. He struck out ten or more times in only four seasons, and his highest strikeout total was twenty, during the 1922 season. For his 1925–1933 seasons, Sewell struck out 4, 6, 7, 9, 4, 3, 8, 3, and 4 times. He also holds the record for consecutive games without recording a strikeout, at 115.

Sewell also played in 1,103 consecutive games, which to that point was second only to Everett Scott.

Joe Sewell 1920 World Series
Sewell (bottom right) getting caught in a rundown in the 1920 World Series.

His 167.7 at-bats per strikeout in 1932 is still a single-season record.

According to his obituary published in the New York Times, he played his entire Major League career using only one bat (a 40-ouncer he dubbed "Black Betsy."),[1] which he kept in shape by rubbing with a Coke bottle and seasoning with chewing tobacco.[4]

Sewell played in two World Series, in 1920 and 1932, winning both times. His 1977 induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame was by the Veteran's Committee. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. (He joined the Indians' roster after September 1 in 1920 and normally would not have been eligible to participate in post-season play, but Wilbert Robinson, manager of the Brooklyn Robins, waived the rule because of the circumstances with Chapman.)


Joe Sewell plaque
Plaque of Joe Sewell at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Two of his brothers, Luke Sewell and Tommy Sewell, also played major league baseball. Tommy played in one game with the Chicago Cubs in 1927, and Luke played for four teams over 20 years and, as manager of the St. Louis Browns, led the team to its only pennant in 1944. [4] His cousin Rip Sewell was a major league pitcher credited with inventing the eephus pitch.

Joe Sewell was a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Sewell-Thomas Stadium, the baseball stadium at the University of Alabama, is named in his honor and is nicknamed by Crimson Tide fans as "The Joe".[6]

After his retirement, Mr. Sewell worked as a public relations man for a dairy and was a major league scout.[4]

In 1964, at the age of 66, he became the Alabama baseball coach, achieving a 114–99 record in seven seasons.[4] One of his pitchers was future NFL standout, Alabama quarterback and 1966 MLB 10th round draftee (Yankees) Ken "The Snake" Stabler.[7]

Posthumously, Joe Sewell's community (Elmore County) has established a scholarship award recognizing local high school seniors who exhibit Christian character, leadership in their community, strong academic standing, and athletic achievements. Joe Sewell graduated from Wetumpka High School in 1916.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Joe Sewell". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Spatz, Lyle (2007). TheSABR Baseball List & Record Book – Baseball's Most Fascinating Records and Unusual Statistics. United States: Simon & Schuster. p. 496. ISBN 9781416532453.
  3. ^ Entry at Paul W. Bryant Museum Archived 2014-01-16 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c d e Thomas Jr., Robert McG. "Joe Sewell, 91, Hall of Fame Star Who Set Fewest-Strikeouts Mark". New York Times – obituary. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Joe Sewell". Baseball Reference. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Johnson, Bill. "Joe Sewell – Bio". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  7. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg. "Former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler dies". NFL -official site. Retrieved November 23, 2015.

External links

1917 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

The 1917 Alabama Crimson Tide football team (variously "Alabama", "UA" or "Bama") represented the University of Alabama in the 1917 college football season. It was the Crimson Tide's 25th overall and 22nd season as a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA). The team was led by head coach Thomas Kelley, in his third year, and played their home games at University Field in Tuscaloosa, at Rickwood Field in Birmingham and at Soldiers Field in Montgomery, Alabama. They finished the season with a record of five wins, two losses and one tie (5–2–1 overall, 3–1–1 in the SIAA).

1920 Cleveland Indians season

The 1920 Cleveland Indians season was the 20th season in franchise history. The Indians won the American League pennant and proceeded to win their first World Series title in the history of the franchise. Pitchers Jim Bagby, Stan Coveleski and Ray Caldwell combined to win 75 games. Despite the team's success, the season was perhaps more indelibly marked by the death of starting shortstop Ray Chapman, who died after being hit by a pitch on August 17.

1927 Cleveland Indians season

The 1927 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team finished sixth in the American League with a record of 66–87, 43½ games behind the New York Yankees.

1930 Cleveland Indians season

The 1930 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the American League with a record of 81–73, 21 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics.

1931 New York Yankees season

The 1931 New York Yankees season was the team's 29th season in New York and its 31st season overall. The team finished with a record of 94–59, finishing 13.5 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. This team is notable for holding the modern day Major League record for team runs scored in a season with 1,067 (6.88 per game average).

1932 New York Yankees season

The 1932 New York Yankees season was the team's 30th season in New York, and its 32nd season overall. The team finished with a record of 107–47, winning their seventh pennant, finishing 13 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by future Hall of Famer Joe McCarthy. A record nine future Hall of Famers played on the team (Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, Red Ruffing, Babe Ruth, Joe Sewell).

The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the Chicago Cubs. They are the only major-league team ever to go an entire season without being shut out.

1933 New York Yankees season

The 1933 New York Yankees season was the team's 31st season in New York and its 33rd season overall. The team finished with a record of 91–59, finishing 7 games behind the Washington Senators. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium.

1977 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1977 followed the system in place since 1971.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Ernie Banks.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected three people: Al López, Amos Rusie, and Joe Sewell.

The Negro Leagues Committee also met in person and selected two players, Martín Dihigo and John Henry Lloyd.

The Negro Leagues Committee also determined to disband. It had elected nine players in seven years.

Alabama Crimson Tide baseball

The Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team represents the University of Alabama in NCAA Division I college baseball. Along with most other Alabama athletic teams, the baseball team participates in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference. The team plays its home games on campus at Sewell–Thomas Stadium.

Cleveland Indians award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Cleveland Indians professional baseball team.

Luke Sewell

James Luther Sewell (January 5, 1901 – May 14, 1987) was an American professional baseball player, coach and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Cleveland Indians (1921–1932, 1939), Washington Senators (1933–1934), Chicago White Sox (1935–1938) and the St. Louis Browns (1942). Sewell batted and threw right-handed. He was regarded as one of the best defensive catchers of his era.

Lyn Lary

Lynford Horbart Lary (January 28, 1906 – January 9, 1973), nicknamed "Broadway", was an American professional baseball shortstop. He played twelve seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians, Brooklyn Dodgers, and St. Louis Cardinals.In a 12-season career, Lary posted a .269 batting average with 38 home runs and 526 RBIs in 1,302 games played.

A well-traveled shortstop, Lary played for six different teams in a span of twelve years, including two stints with the St. Louis Browns and playing for three teams in 1939. A good defensive player, he had good hands with a strong arm and was competent on the double play. Primarily a singles hitter, his hustle on the bases was shown by taking an extra base or for breaking up a double play. He ended his career with a 1.50 walk-to-strikeout ratio (705-to-470).

Lary debuted with the New York Yankees in 1929, finishing with a .309 average. The next season, he hit .289, and .280 in 1931. That season, he collected 107 RBIs, the most ever by a Yankees shortstop, and was one of six Yankees to have at least 100 runs scored. Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ben Chapman, Earle Combs and Joe Sewell were the others. Lary also had career-numbers in home runs (10) and triples (nine).

From 1934 through 1936, Lary divided his playing time between the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, St, Louis Browns and Washington Senators. Before the 1935 season, he was traded by the Red Sox to the Washington Senators in exchange for future Hall of Famer Joe Cronin. Playing for the 1936 Browns, he hit .289 with 112 runs and led the American League with 37 stolen bases and 155 games played. In 1937 with the Cleveland Indians, he batted .290 with 110 runs and posted career-highs in hits (187) and doubles (46).

In 1939, Lary started with Cleveland, was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in the midseason, then returned to St. Louis for the rest of the year. He retired in 1940, after a part-time season for the Browns.

Lary died in Downey, California, at age 66.

Pat Caraway

Cecil Bradford Patrick Caraway (September 26, 1905, in Erath County, Texas – June 9, 1974, in El Paso, Texas), was a Major League Baseball player who played pitcher from 1930-1932. He would play for the Chicago White Sox. He is buried in Gordon Cemetery in Gordon, Texas.

Caraway was a lanky Texan who debuted professionally in 1927 with the minor league Rock Island Islanders. He also played for the Amarillo Texans and Topeka Jayhawks before being called up to the Chicago White Sox for the 1930 season, pitching in his first Sox game on 19 April 1930. His last major league game was 17 July 1932.

A left-handed submarine delivery pitcher, Caraway was one of the few submariners in MLB history to develop a knuckleball. Though also possessing a blazing fastball and looping curve, Caraway always struggled with pitch control. He finished the 1932 season with Buffalo and continued the 1933 season with the Bisons of the International League. In 1933 he was featured on a black and white jig-saw puzzle as part of a Bisons ticket give-away promotion.

He finished his professional career in 1934 with the Tulsa Oilers and the San Antonio Missions in the Texas League, posting a 2–1 record with each team.

Caraway's most remarkable day came in 1930, when he struck out Joe Sewell twice. Sewell was the most difficult batter in baseball history to strike out, and he struck out only three times all that season.

When Pat Caraway left baseball, he lived in El Paso, Texas, and became an engineer for the Texas and Pacific Railroad until his retirement in 1971. He is buried with other family members in the Caraway plot next to his wife, Harriet Christensen Caraway, in the New Gordon Cemetery on Cemetery Road in Gordon, Palo Pinto County, Texas.

Parents: William J "Dock" Caraway & Ara Mae Wilson Caraway

Marriage: Harriet Christensen, -- (no children)


Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball or softball fielding position between second and third base, which is considered to be among the most demanding defensive positions. Historically the position was assigned to defensive specialists who were typically poor at batting and were often placed at the bottom of the batting order. Today shortstops are often able to hit well and many are placed at the top of the lineup. In the numbering system used by scorers to record defensive plays, the shortstop is assigned the number 6.

More hit balls go to the shortstop than to any other position, as there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters, and most hitters have a tendency to pull the ball slightly. Like a second baseman, a shortstop must be agile, for example when performing a 4-6-3 double play. Also, like a third baseman, the shortstop fields balls hit to the left side of the infield, where a strong arm is needed to throw out a batter-runner before they reach the safety of first base.

Titus, Alabama

Titus is an unincorporated community in Elmore County, Alabama, United States. Titus is 13.2 miles (21.2 km) north-northwest of Wetumpka. Titus has a post office with ZIP code 36080.

Tommy Sewell

Thomas Wesley Sewell (April 16, 1906 – July 30, 1956), was an American professional baseball player who played in 1927 with the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball. He appeared in one game as a pinch hitter, going hitless in his only at-bat.

Sewell was born in Titus, Alabama, and died in Montgomery, Alabama. He attended the University of Alabama. He was the brother of Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Sewell and of Luke Sewell, and the cousin of Rip Sewell.

Walk-to-strikeout ratio

In baseball statistics, walk-to-strikeout ratio (BB/K) is a measure of a hitter's plate discipline and knowledge of the strike zone. Generally, a hitter with a good walk-to-strikeout ratio must exhibit enough patience at the plate to refrain from swinging at bad pitches and take a base on balls, but he must also have the ability to recognize pitches within the strike zone and avoid striking out. Joe Morgan and Wade Boggs are two examples of hitters with a good walk-to-strikeout ratio. A hit by pitch is not counted statistically as a walk and therefore not counted in the walk-to-strikeout ratio.

The inverse of this, the strikeout-to-walk ratio, is used to compare pitchers.

Xen C. Scott

Xenophon Cole "Xen" Scott (July 6, 1882 – April 21, 1924) was an American football player, coach of football, basketball, and baseball, and a sportswriter. He served as the head football coach at Western Reserve University in 1910, at the Case School of Applied Science from 1911 to 1913—both Western Reserve and Case are now part of Case Western Reserve University—and at the University of Alabama from 1919 to 1922, compiling a career college football record of 49–26–4.

Born in Pasadena, California in 1882, Scott moved to Cleveland, Ohio with his family when he was four. He played college football as an end and quarterback at Western Reserve, from which he graduated in 1905, and then professionally with the Massillon Tigers. Prior to being hired as head football coach, Scott was a horse-racing writer in Cleveland, Ohio. He also contributed material to the Spalding's Official Foot Ball Guide in 1907 and 1908. In 1907 he became an assistant coach at Western Reserve University in Cleveland.In 1910, Scott was hired to be head coach at the Nebraska State Normal School in Peru, Nebraska, where he also coached baseball and basketball. He compiled a 29–9–3 (.744) record at Alabama. His first Tide team went 8–1 to set a school record for victories in a season; his second team did better, going 10–1 and finishing atop the standings of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Scott recruited Joe Sewell to Alabama and then sent him to the Cleveland Indians when Sewell's football days were over; Joe Sewell went to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Scott's Tide scored 110 points against Marion Institution in 1922, an Alabama football record which still stands today. In 1922 Scott's Tide beat Penn, 9–7, a shocking upset at the time and one which heralded the arrival of Alabama as a national football power. However, Scott did not get to enjoy his success; a case of cancer of the mouth and tongue forced his resignation after the 1922 season and he died in 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Inductees in Yankees cap
Inductees who played
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Yankees' executives
Frick Award
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Veterans Committee
Negro League Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
First basemen
Second basemen
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Designated hitters
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(pre-1947 era)

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