On this date in 1929, Cleveland Indians’ SS Joe Sewell notched his 115th consecutive game without striking out (the MLB modern record) – a streak that went from May 19-September 19 (the following day, Sewell notched his third strikeout of the season.) During his 115-game streak, Sewell racked up 436 at bats and 143 hits (.328), with 27 doubles, two triples, seven HR and 56 RBI. On the season, Sewell fanned just four times in 578 at bats – and it wasn’t even his best campaign in terms of at bats/per whiff. That would be 1932, when Sewell struck out just three times in 503 at bats – or once each 167.7 at bats (the post-1900 MLB record). For his career, Sewell fanned 114 times in 7,132 at bats – or once each 62.6 at bats. That, by the way, puts Sewell second on the career list (among players who played after 1900) to Wee Willie Keeler who fanned just once every 63.2 at bats in 19 MLB seasons )1892-1910).
Through September 18, 69 players have struck out more times in this season than Joe Sewell did in his entire 14-season career.
By the way, if you are looking for the leader among active players – at the top of the list would be Nationals’ outfielder Ben Revere with 10.11 at bats per strikeout (as of September 18, 2016) – the only active player with more than ten at bats per whiff.
Active Players with the Most At Bats Per Strikeout (as of September 18, 2016)
Ben Revere … 10.11
Yadier Molina … 9.59
Ichiro Suzuki … 9.36
Dustin Pedroia … 9.26
Casey Kotchman … 9.08
Note: Pre-1900 at bat/per strikeout ratios are off the charts. In 1871, for example, catcher Mike McGeary of the National Association’s Troy Haymakers went an entire season (just 148 at bats, however) without a whiff. Later, in 1875, McGeary (with the NA’s Philadelphia Whites) had a season in which he fanned just once in 310 at bats. If you look only at the NL and AL, Wee Willie Keeler holds the record with just two strikeouts in 570 at bats (one K per 285 at bats) for Brooklyn’s 1899 NL squad – a year in which he hit .379, with one home run and 61 RBI.
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