Cooperstown Chronicles – Joe Sewell

Jul 8, 2008

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

I decided to profile Hall of Famer Joe Sewell, who was enshrined by the Veteran’s Committee in 1977.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

The Numbers
Played 1920-1933 (14 Seasons)
1903 Games
7132 At Bats
.312 Batting Average (84th All-time)
1141 Runs
2226 Hits
436 Doubles
68 Triples
49 HRs
1055 RBI
842 Walks (Only 114 Strikeouts)
74 SBs

Nine .300 Seasons
Two 100 Run Seasons
One 200 Hit Season
Five 40 Double Seasons
Two 10 Triple Seasons
Two 100 RBI Seasons

World Series:  2 Rings, 9 for 38 (.237), 4 Runs, 1 Double, 3 RBI, 6 Walks

MVP Votes in 7 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Twice
On-base % – Twice
Slugging % – Once
OPS – Once
Games – 8 Times (Led league in 1928)
At Bats – 4 Times
Hits - 6 Times
Doubles – 7 Times (Led league in 1924)
Total Bases - Once 
Extra-base Hits – Once
RBI – 3 Times
Walks – 3 Times
Hit by Pitch – 8 Times
Stolen Bases – Once

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:

Black Ink: Batting – 3 (511) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting – 75 (313) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting – 42.9 (115) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting – 68.0 (268) (Likely HOFer > 100) > 100)

Joe Sewell came from a baseball family as brothers Luke & Tommy and cousin Rip also played.   Joe started his career as a replacement for fan favorite Ray Chapman, who is the only modern player killed by a pitch, in the midst of a pennant race.  He helped Cleveland win the World Series that year.  He would later add another championship with the Yankees.  His claim to fame is his ability to avoid the strikeout.  He led the league in Most At Bats/K for 9 straight years.  He also set the mark for a career (and it’s not even close).  He averaged 62.56 At Bats/K.  The second best was Lloyd Waner’s 44.92. He also went a record 115 games without striking out.  Not only was he  adept at getting his trusty 40-ounce bat “Black Betsy” on the ball, he was also good with his glove.  He led the league in assists five times, putouts four times, and fielding percentage twice.  Following his career he went on to become a coach and a scout.  While he’s not a slam dunk, I agree with the VC that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

BR Bullpen

Past Chronicles
Roberto Alomar
Richie Ashburn*
Harold Baines

Albert Belle
Pete Browning
Jim Bunning *
Bert Byleven
Joe Carter
Orlando Cepeda*
Rocky Colavito
Dave Concepcion
David Cone
Larry Corcoran
Mike Cuellar
George Davis*
Andre Dawson
Larry Doby*
Bobby Doerr
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Dwight Evans
Rick Ferrell*
Chuck Finley
Steve Finley
Nellie Fox*
John Franco

Gary Gaetti
Steve Garvey
Luis Gonzalez
Dwight Gooden
Mark Grace
Bobby Grich
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Ron Guidry
Keith Hernandez
Orel Hershiser
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Gil Hodges
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Travis Jackson
Tommy John
Addie Joss*
Jim Kaat
George Kell*
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Chuck Klein*
Jerry Koosman
Barry Larkin
Tony Lazzeri*
Mickey Lolich
Ernie Lombardi*
Fred Lynn
Sherry Magee

Roger Maris
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Dennis Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Bobby Matthews
Don Mattingly
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Bill Mazeroski*
Fred McGriff

Mark McGwire
Bid McPhee
Johnny Mize
Paul Molitor*
Jack Morris
Tony Mullane
Dale Murphy
Graig Nettles
Hal Newhouser*
Lefty O’Doul
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver

Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Dave Parker
Wes Parker
Lance Parrish
Boog Powell
Tim Raines
Willie Randolph
Pee Wee Reese
Jim Rice
Phil Rizzuto*
Brooks Robinson*
Pete Ro$e
Amos Rusie*
Jimmy Ryan
Ron Santo
Curt Schilling
Red Schoendienst* (Player/Manager)
Ted Simmons
Enos Slaughter
Lee Smith
Rusty Staub
Dave Stieb
Harry Stovey
Alan Trammell
George Van Haltren
Arky Vaughan*
Mo Vaughn
Bobby Veach
Frank Viola
Lou Whitaker
Bernie Williams
Vic Willis*
Maury Wills 
Hack Wilson*

* Signifies actual Hall of Famer

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5 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. David Funk
    July 8th, 2008 at 2:14 pm #

    I remember reading about him replacing Ray Chapman in the lineup. Sewell played in a time where middle infielders weren’t typically relied upon to put up great offensive numbers, and were counted to provide steady defense. At least it seems that way.

    I agree he isn’t a cake-walk to get in, but there’s no doubt he belongs in.

    Nice work as always.

  2. David Funk
    July 8th, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    Edit: I meant to say that he isn’t/wasn’t a cake-walk to get in, but there’s no doubt he should have been voted in.

  3. LestersLegends
    July 8th, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    David – Excellent assessment.

  4. fcf
    July 30th, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    Great job compiling these stats. I wish more big leaguers would play like Joe did

  5. LestersLegends
    July 30th, 2008 at 10:52 am #

    fcf – thanks.

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