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  • Rip Sewell

    Rip Sewell pitched in the big leagues for 13 seasons, until 1949, going 143-97 with 137 complete games and a 3.48 ERA in 390 games. The three-time All-Star finished as high as sixth in MVP voting, earning votes three times for that award.

    The right-hander, who realistically started his career at the age of 31, went 89-58 from 1940 to 1944, averaging 18 wins and a 3.14 ERA each season. He won over 15 games four times and over 20 games twice in his career, and he completed over 15 games four times as well.

    In 1943, he led the league in wins and complete games, in 1944, he led the league in WAR for pitchers and in 1948 he led the loop in winning percentage. He even led league pitchers in putouts three times.

    At the dish he was pretty solid, hitting .203 with six home runs and 152 hits in his career. In 1943, he hit .286 with seven stolen bases and 17 RBI and the next year, he hit .313.

    He received Hall of Fame votes three times, though he never eclipsed 0.6% of the vote. Statistically, he is similar to Dutch Reuther, Mike Garcia, Joe Dobson, Harry Gumbert, Pat Malone, Jack Sanford, Johnny Sain, Johnny Allen, Ray Kremer and Jack Billingham.

    On the Fan EloRater, he is ranked #310, ahead of Johnny Vander Meer, Gus Weyhing and Pat Hentgen, but behind Ramon Martinez, Don McMahon and Ice Box Chamberlain.

    He also invented the eephus.

    So, what do you think about Rip Sewell? Should he be in the Hall of Fame? Did he have Hall of Fame potential?
    11
    Yes
    0.00%
    0
    No
    90.91%
    10
    Maybe
    0.00%
    0
    Not a Hall of Famer, but he had Hall of Fame potential
    9.09%
    1

  • #2
    Only twice in the top ten for ERA, once in the top ten for the MVP, two top ten finishes in WAR though so that's good.

    No Hall but a player who had a couple good years.
    Last edited by 1905 Giants; 08-19-2012, 05:58 PM.
    “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

    "Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mantle). Whatever the figure, it's a deal." - Branch Rickey

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    • #3
      No one thinks he had Hall of Fame potential? He started his career late, at age 31. Imagine what he may have done had he had those prime years of his career.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Cowtipper View Post
        No one thinks he had Hall of Fame potential? He started his career late, at age 31. Imagine what he may have done had he had those prime years of his career.
        Why was it that he started his career so late?

        (Not a rhetorical question -- I really don't know.)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cougar View Post
          Why was it that he started his career so late?

          (Not a rhetorical question -- I really don't know.)
          The short answer is: because he wasn't much of a prospect.

          Truett (Rip) Sewell,was an Alabama native, like his cousins Joe and Luke Sewell. After high school, he was a multi-sport star at the Alabama Military Institute. This led to a football scholarship at Vanderbilt. He dropped out after a year or two and went to work for Dupont, playing for the company's baseball team. This led to his being signed by Nashville in 1931, about the time he was turning 24. After being hit hard in 6 games, he was sent down to Raleigh, where he posted a solid 17-6 record.

          Nashville sold Sewell's rights to Detroit for 1932 and he was brought up in mid-season. After being hit hard in four out of five relief appearances, he was farmed out again.

          Optioned to Seattle for 1933, he fared poorly, going 6-17, 5.90. In spring training of 1934 he got into a big fight with Hank Greenberg, earning him another ticket to the minors. Working with manager Steve O'Neill, he cut his walks down and posted a 14-12 record for Toledo. This and other efforts earned O'Neill his first managing job in MLB for 1935; for Sewell it was on to Louisville where he had a lost season at age 28: 6-20, 8.12.

          Sewell was signed by Buffalo where he finally got his career on track in 1936 and 1937. He was sold to the Pirates for 1938. The 31-year-old rookie came out of the bullpen 11 times in the season's first 6 weeks and was OK; but every time, the Pirates lost. He mostly rode the bench the rest of the year, as the Pirates charged to first place, then swooned down the stretch in a classic pennant race.

          Named the Pirate's 4th starter out of spring training in 1939, Sewell washed out of the job after two months. It wasn't until the second half of the 1940 season, at age 33, that Sewell began to perform at a level resembling a hall of fame pitcher. He went on to have two outstanding seasons against war-depleted competition in 1943-44.

          So no, I see no HOF potential here.
          Last edited by Freakshow; 08-23-2012, 01:02 AM.
          Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

          Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Freakshow View Post
            It wasn't until the second half of the 1940 season, at age 33, that Sewell began to perform at a level resembling a hall of fame pitcher. He went on to have two outstanding seasons against war-depleted competition in 1943-44.
            Another part of the problem with Sewell is that he also had some completely average-at-best seasons against war-depleted competition.

            1942-1945
            70-45 = .609 - these are really nice, Top 10 numbers, but they are only superficial once you start looking at the rest of his record
            3.24 ERA - not even in the Top 25 (500 IPs min.)
            112 ERA+ - outside of the Top 20 (500 IPs min.)
            1.355 WHIP - 38th best (500 IPs min.)
            0.83 SO/BB - 46th best (500 IPs min.)
            12.4 pWAR - tied 8th best - AVG 3.1/season - this is OK, except that is what is supposed to be Sewell's peak. I know he was in his mid-30s at this point, but a pitcher with HOF potential should have done more during war-depleted competition and his peak.
            Last edited by dgarza; 08-23-2012, 06:45 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cowtipper View Post
              No one thinks he had Hall of Fame potential? He started his career late, at age 31. Imagine what he may have done had he had those prime years of his career.
              I don't see Sewell as really being a guy with HOF potential. His best years were during the war; he was a wartime all-star with a trick pitch. He was pretty good at his peak, and may have justified an NL Cy Young Award in 1943 had the award been in existance (although Mort Cooper placed ahead of Sewell in the MVP vote and had slightly better numbers). There was nothing in Sewell's minor league record to view him as a guy that was kept from the big leagues for some illogical reason; his minor league numbers really suggested that he was never going to be more than a very marginal major league pitcher, and certainly not a HOFer. Sewell, IMO, overachieved due to the dilution of talent during WWII; we wouldn't be having this discussion if the war had not come.
              "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

              NL President Ford Frick, 1947

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