Rip Sewell - Early Years

Early Years

Born in Decatur, Alabama, Sewell attended Vanderbilt University in the 1930-1931 school year where played college football on scholarship for coach Dan McGugin. However, Sewell only played on the freshman team and left because of the academic requirements. After leaving school, he went to work for Dupont in Tennessee, and started playing semipro baseball.

He signed with the Nashville Vols, who then sold his contract to the Detroit Tigers for $10,000. He played only one season (1932) with the Tigers, appearing mostly in relief. Sewell later recalled that he was shipped to the minor leagues in Toronto the day after Jimmie Foxx hit one of Sewell's best pitches over the left field wall. (Donald Honig, "Baseball When the Grass Was Real" (1975), p. 250) Sewell pitched only 10-2/3 innings for the 1932 Tigers, giving up 15 earned runs for a 12.66 ERA.

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