May 11, 1907
Truett “Rip” Sewell (1907-1989) was born on May 11, 1907 in Decatur. Frequent truancy as a youth led Sewell to be expelled from school, but his athletic prowess earned him a scholarship to the Alabama Military Institute. Sewell received a scholarship to play football at Vanderbilt University in 1929 but dropped out after a year to play baseball for a textile company team. A year later he signed with the Nashville Vols, went to the Raleigh Capitals and then to the Detroit Tigers before returning to the minor leagues for five years. He returned to the major leagues as the mainstay of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching staff from 1938 until 1949. Sewell was named National League pitcher of the year in 1943. He continued as a manager of minor league teams through 1954. He died on Sept. 4, 1989.
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