In an era of three-outcome baseball, the story of Joe Sewell is even more amazing than ever.
It used to be, hitters hated striking out. Striking out was a badge of shame. Now, it seems to be a rite of passage, a ticket to a bigger contract.
Joe Sewell was a third baseman for the Indians and Yankees back in the late 1920s and early 1930s. A Hall-of-Famer, in fact.
In 1932, he came to the plate 576 times. How many times did he walk back to the dugout, bat in hand?
Yes, in the entire 1932 season, Joe Sewell struck out three times. To translate that into modern baseball, that’s a Joey Gallo night.
Of course, Sewell had a couple shameful seasons. Early in his career, in 1929, he struck out four times. In 672 plate appearances. And let’s not forget his embarrassing 1926 season when he was a strikeout machine. Six times he whiffed. That’s a half dozen. In 672 plate appearances.
It’s amazing he was even given a major league job after that. That’s a strikeout a month. Shameful.
In his seventeen-year major league career, Joe Sewell stuck out just 114 times.
Last season, Adolis Garcia struck out 194 times.
I miss baseball.