Joe Sewell

Photo added by Ron Moody

Joe Sewell

Titus, Elmore County, Alabama, USA
Death 6 Mar 1990 (aged 91)
Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA
Burial Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, USA
Plot Section 2
Memorial ID 11116 · View Source
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Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Player. He entered the major leagues under tragic circumstances and then went on to become the hardest player to strike out in history. On Aug. 16, 1920, Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman was struck in the head by a pitch by the New York Yankees' Carl Mays in the fifth inning at the Polo Grounds. Chapman died the next morning at 4:40. When his replacement, Harry Lunte, was injured on Labor Day, the Indians, in the middle of a pennant race, bought Sewell, who had played only 92 pro games at New Orleans of the Southern Association. He responded well, hitting .329 as the Indians outlasted the scandal-ridden Chicago White Sox by two games for the American League title. He hit only .174 in the World Series, but the Indians beat Brooklyn 5-2 in the best-of-nine series. In 1921, the 5-foot-6? left-handed batter hit .318 with 36 doubles, 12 triples, 91 runs batted in and 101 runs scored. In 1923, he batted .353 with 41 doubles, 10 triples, 109 RBIs and 98 runs scored. Sewell kept up the pace in 1924, hitting .316 with 104 RBIs, 99 runs scored and a league-leading 45 doubles. He followed that with .336, 204 hits, 37 doubles and 98 RBIs in 1925. He set a major-league record that year by striking out just four times in 608 at-bats. He frequently used a 40-ounce bat he called "Black Betsy" but didn't choke up on the handle. In 1926 Sewell batted .324 with 41 doubles and 85 RBIs and struck out six times in 578 at-bats. It was more of the same in 1927: .316 with 48 doubles, 92 RBIs and seven strikeouts in 569 at-bats. In 1928 it was .323 with 40 doubles and nine strikeouts in 588 at-bats. He batted .315 in 1929 with 38 doubles and tied his own record by striking out four times in 578 at-bats. He also moved full time to third base. Sewell played in 1,103 consecutive games from Sept. 13, 1922-April 30, 1930, a record at the time. In 1930, he hit .289 in 353 at-bats and struck out three times. Getting released after the season, he signed with the Yankees and played three years for them. He hit .333 in the 1932 World Series as New York swept Chicago in four. His lifetime totals: .312 with 2,226 hits, 436 doubles, 49 homers, 1,141 runs scored and 1,051 RBIs. He struck out 114 times in 7,132 at-bats. That doesn't include 844 walks that didn't count as at-bats. He later coached at Alabama, leading the Tide to a Southeastern Conference title in 1968. The Veterans Committee elected Sewell to the Hall of Fame in 1977. He had two brothers play in the majors - Tommy, an infielder with the Cubs briefly, and Luke, who played 20 years in the AL and managed the St. Louis Browns to their only pennant in 1944 and Cincinnati.

Bio by: Ron Coons

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 15 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11116
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Joe Sewell (9 Oct 1898–6 Mar 1990), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11116, citing Tuscaloosa Memorial Park, Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .