Clipped From Tucson Daily Citizen

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 - By George McLeod Citizen Sports Editor....
By George McLeod Citizen Sports Editor. Sewell's Strikeouts Few "There's no excuse for a major league player striking out 100 times a season." Joe Sewell, bright-eyed hitting coach of the Cleveland Indians, paused in the middle of this opened up with a big grin and then added: "Unless, of course, he's blind." Perhaps a lot of hitting coaches have had sentiments, but none has been able to back with the authority of the 61-year-old Sewell. Joe holds major league records for fewest strikeouts in,, a single season and in a career (10 or seasons). Twice while with the Indians (1925 and 1929), struck out. just four times. And, in 14 years Indians and New York Yankees, Joey fanned a of 114 times. By way of comparison, Mickey Mantle struck 129 times last year alone. In his seven years Yankees he's averaged 100 strikeouts a year. Closer to home on the Indians, Woodie Held 118 times last year and Colavito 89. Joey Explains Theory How does Sewell explain his unbelievably low strikeouts a year? "It's easy," Sewell said. "I hit the-ball where was pitched. I didn't wait for a favorite pitch the players do today." Sewell said when he went up to the plate, concentrated on three things: The strike zone, his stancerand the ball. "My theory on hitting is simple," he said. envisioned the strike zone for the ball as it arrives front of the plate--not over the plate. Then I got a comfortable stance . . . a stance where I any Jsall in this zone. Then I followed the ball way: I could even see it hit the bat. Anyone he concentrates on picking up the ball and not watching the pitcher's motion." If a batter does these things, Sewell believes doesn't have to wait for a favorite pitch. He .can any pitch in the zone whether it is a curve, a up or a slider. "I was sure I could hit any kind of a pitch zone. And we had pitches like the emery ball spitball," Sewell said. Sewell wasn't a free swinger. In his words, leveled on the ball. "I figured that with a level swing you could good wood on the ball. With a level swing I get good wood on the ball .three of the four get up. I'd hit it solidly someplace. Some might caught, but some would, fall in safely. "By leveling on the ball and getting good on it, the power will come. I wasn't a big hit 10 or 11 home runs a year. "You know the kids today just think about the hell out of the ball. They do too ... if they And because they're concentrating on hitting the out of the park they're arching their swing, losing some of their power. "Look at fellas like Williams and Musial. a lot of homeruns "but they level at the ball and have power enough to hit the home runs. They good wood on the ball just about every time they It." \. Homer Craze Responsible Sewell believes the homerun craze is responsible for so many .240 hitters. Sewell, who weighed 160 pounds and was 5-8 his playing days, once batted .353 and was the leading batter in the American League. · "Times have changed," Joey said with just touch of re'gret. "The 40 home runs, 100 strikeouts $50,000 pay checks all go hand in hand today. . "What these power hitters don't realize 'is learning to hit right, they can cut down their 50 ayear.-This means about 20 more base hits, 5 more homeruns. -The consistent high average keep their pay checks high." Right now Joey is working with four Indian trying to get across his theories. They are catcher Russ Nixon, Colavito, Held and rookie Carroll The Indians progress in 1960 could very well depend on how much this trio listens to teacher

Clipped from
  1. Tucson Daily Citizen,
  2. 15 Mar 1960, Tue,
  3. Page 15

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