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joe sewell

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Joe Sewell was born October 9, 1898 in Titus, Alabama. After lettering in in college football in 1917-1919, Sewell made his debut for the Cleveland Indians at shortstop in 1920, shortly after one of the most tragic moments in baseball history, the on-field death of Ray Chapman.

Sewell, however, became the new starting shortstop for Cleveland in 1921. He was not a power hitter in the just-started “lively ball” era. but he had a knack for getting on base and superior bat control skills. He almost never struck out. Using just ONE bat for most of his fourteen-year career, he struck out only 115 times in over 7,000 at bats. To draw a contrast, Cameron Maybin struck out 110 times…in 2012. From 1925-1933, Sewell struck out 4, 6, 7, 9, 4, 3, 8, 3, and 4 times. During this time period, Sewell also set a record playing in 115 games without striking out once. This simply will never happen again, and I defy anyone to come up with a scenario in which it might.

Sewell recorded 2,205 hits and had a lifetime batting average of .312, with a .391 on base average. He only hit 49 homers, but was still a top-five MVP twice. He played in two world series, winning both in 1920 and 1932. Is he a DESERVING Hall of Famer? Download the show to find out!

Links:
Hardball Times: Jimmy Wynn (2006)
Joe Sewell Baseball-Reference
Jimmy Wynn Baseball-Reference
BR: The second deadball era


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Mark McGwire gives testimony to Congressman Lacy

Mark McGwire gives testimony to Congressman Lacy

Mark McGwire is one of the most controversial figures in the “steroids era” and has fallen short of Hall of Fame election by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He will forever be linked with Roger Maris, as his storybook 1998 season in which he and Sammy Sosa both broke Maris’s 47-year-old single-season home run record (McGwire finished 1998 with 70 homers; Sosa finished with “only” 66). A huge, lumbering power hitter who didn’t field or run well, McGwire relied on his prodigious power to carve out what looked like a surefire Hall of Fame career.

Unfortunately, he used steroids during his playing career, and he wasn’t a good defender or baserunner. By the same token, he did hit 583 home runs for his career and had OPS numbers that are nothing short of stratospheric late in his career. He is one of two people to hit over sixty homers in a season twice, along with fellow baseball limbo-dweller Sammy Sosa.

One of the things that doesn’t help McGwire is his congressional testimony, which reads like a “what not to do” video in regards to public testimony. His famous quote “I’m not here to talk about the past” in response to Congressman Ed Lacy’s questions made him look even guiltier than he turned out to be. He eventually admitted to using steroids, citing “health reasons” for doing so. What I had such a hard time with was making a decision as to his Hall worthiness. If he never used a performance enhancing drug, would McGwire be a first-ballot Hall of Famer? Probably. 583 homers is an automatic entry into the Hall for most writers, and many of those writers would look at a .263 lifetime batting average and decide it’s more than outweighed by McGwire’s superior on base percentage.

What is the verdict? Download the podcast to find out.

Links for this episode:
Mark McGwire’s Baseball Reference Page
Sammy Sosa: Heck Yes we’re HOFERS
Marshall: McGwire is a Hall of Famer
Why McGwire doesn’t belong in the Hall

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