I feel it’s a travesty that the baseball world isn’t more read onto an absolute savage, and Hall of Famer Joe Sewell. One of my favorite stats that I more recently fell in love with is the metric produced by the walk-to-strikeout (BB/K) formula. I was listening in on MLB XM radio on channel 89 as I usually do every day to and from work, and they were interviewing Chipper Jones on his recent induction into the Hall Of Fame. When asked about all of his accomplishments, Chipper was extremely proud of the fact that he had more walks than strikeouts in his career, which goes to show just how important that dominance of the strike zone is to a complete hitter. The walk-to-strikeout stat is an excellent representation of a hitter that has the discipline to take pitches outside the zone, while being aggressive on pitches in the zone and not striking out. To me it shows a masterful understanding of the strike zone that translates to success as a hitter.
Chipper was awesome, and racked up 1512 career walks while striking out 1409 times. I think we can all agree that Chipper was one of the best hitters any of us have ever seen with our own eyes, and I am sure Mets fans will agree as he just torched them his entire career. Other great examples of guys with good walk-to-strikeout formulas are legends like Eddie Collins, Tris Speaker, Wade Boggs and Joe Morgan amongst many others.
Now enter my man Joe Sewell. Sewell honestly holds records that will NEVER be broken. In 1925 he had 64 walks to 4 strikeouts. In 1929 he had 48 walks to 4 strikeouts. In 1932 he had 56 walks to 3 strikeouts. In 1933 he had 71 walks to 4 strikeouts. In total Joe Sewell struck out a shocking 114 times in 7,132 at bats, averaging a strikeout in every 62.5 at bats. Joe Sewell holds the single season record for fewest strikeouts in a season (3) and the most consecutive games without a strikeout at 115. Utilizing the walk-to-strikeout formula, Joe Sewell holds the top 4 slots down in the all-time single season leaderboard of the BB/K statistic, leading the heap with a BB/K ratio of 18.67 in 1932 for the Yankees.
The best stat though of Joe Sewell’s career however is that he used one bat his entire career. Dubbed “Black Betsy”, he swung one 40oz bat his entire career that he kept in top condition by rubbing it with a coke bottle (whatever that means) and dousing it in chewing tobacco spit. A career .312 hitter and a 1977 HOF inductee, Joe Sewell’s legendary command of the strike zone is something that everyone should take the time and marvel in.