Daily Dose of Crimson Tide: The Namesake of "The Joe," Joe Sewell

Christopher Walsh

Although most Alabama fans know him for baseball, Joe Sewell was also a standout football player at Alabama, and from 1917-19 a halfback for the Crimson Tide.

After graduation in May 1920, he wound up taking over the shortstop position for Cleveland in the World Series when Ray Chapman died after being hit in the head by a pitched ball. Despite the circumstances, Sewell had five hits in 15 at-bats.

Despite using a heavy 40-ounce bat that he called “Black Betsy,” Sewell was the toughest player in baseball to strike out, and had as few as four during three different seasons. For example, in 1922, he struck out a mere 20 times in 656 at bats.

He finished in the top ten in American League MVP voting four times, was third in 1925, and in the 1932 World Series with the New York Yankees drove in the winning run in the deciding game against Chicago.

In 14 years, he had 1,903 games, 7,132 at-bats, hit .312 with only 114 strikeouts. He played in 1,103 consecutive games from 1922-30, the second longest streak in baseball history at that point. 

He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the veteran’s committee in 1977.

After his playing career ended, Sewell returned to the Capstone in 1964 and coached the baseball team through 1969. He led the 1968 team to a 24-14 record and the SEC Championship, and complied a 106-79 (.603) record. 

The baseball stadium is now known Sewell-Thomas Stadium, or “The Joe.” It was recently profiled on Throwback Thursday on BamaCentral. 

Some of this post originated from "100 Things Crimson tide Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die," published by Triumph Books

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