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Filling Chappie's Shoes

The Cleveland Indians were in the middle of a fierce pennant race with the Yankees and White Sox when, on August 16, 1920, a pitch thrown by Carl Mays accidentally hit and killed Indian shortstop and team leader, Ray Chapman. Many thought that the loss of the "glue" to their squad would make it likely that the Indians would fold. However, Cleveland manager (and future Hall of Fame centerfielder) Tris Speaker was told about a young shortstop playing at the University of Alabama named Joe Sewell. He was brought up to the Indians by the first week of September while the team was still in the hunt for the pennant.

Young Joe was literally asked to fill the shoes of the martyred Chapman. Pictured (left) are the actual shoes that Joe wore when he replaced the beloved Chapman. The Indians went on to win the pennant and the 1920 World Series with Joe Sewell as their shortstop. Sewell holds the record for having struck out the fewest times in major league history, whiffing only 113 times, in a 14 year Hall of Fame career.

On the shoes, Joe wrote: "I used these shoes in 1920, (signed) Joe Sewell."