Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hall of Fame Spotlight - Joe Sewell

I have decided to try out an idea that I had while I was looking for Hall of Fame Autographs on Ebay the other day. There are a LOT of hall of famers who I have never heard of. I thought it might be a good idea to feature a random Hall of Famer every now and then. Hope you guys enjoy.
Plaque photo obtained from http://www.baseballhall.org
Joe Sewell, (b.1898 - d.1990) played in the majors from 1920 to 1933 for the Indians and Yankees. He had 2,226 hits, 49 home runs and a .312 batting average. He was elected to the Hall by the Veteran's Committee in 1977.
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An autographed baseball of his averages $112.00 on ebay and a signed postcard averages $19.95.
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What makes him a Hall of Famer?
  • Won 2 World Series (1920 - Indians, 1933 - Yankees)
  • Fewest career strikeouts in the history of MLB (114 over 7,132 at bats)
  • 5 seasons with 4 or fewer strikeouts (not including his 22 games played in 1920)
  • 10 seasons with .300 or better average (not including his 22 games in 1920)
  • Played the second most consecutive games (1,103) at that time.
  • His 3 strikeouts in the 1932 season are the fewest ever for any full season in history
  • Has the record for longest streak of at bats without a strikeout - 115 games

Should he be a Hall of Famer?

  • Never won any major awards (batting title, home run champ, MVP, etc)
  • Appeared on the HOF ballot 7 times, averaging 5.33% of the vote when 75% is the required amount in order to gain election
  • Did not reach any 'golden ticket' numbers (500 home runs, 3,000 hits)

The Verdict?

It is amazing to look at Sewell's stats and see just how few times he struck out during any given season. Since he was primarily a shortstop, his 'light hitting' numbers are fairly justified given that the position was not the power position it became later in the century. Had Sewell played longer than 14 seasons, it is reasonable to believe that he would have at least challenged the 3,000-hit plateau. In my opinion, YES, Joe Sewell definitely deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Did you know that Sewell was called up to replace Ray Chapman on Cleveland's roster in August of 1920 after Chapman was struck in the head by a pitch and died?

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