Joe William Hewitt
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 140 lb.
- Debut 1920
- Final Game 1932
- Born August 7, 1885 in New Market, AL USA
- Died April 2, 1948 in St. Louis, MO USA
Joe Hewitt was a Negro League player and manager for about two decades. He was known primarily for his speed, both in covering lots of ground at shortstop and in stealing bases. Unfortunately, for much of his career, stolen base data was not tracked. Additionally, for much of his career, there was no organized Negro League and top black teams rarely faced off, presenting us with wildly varying statistics from one year to another, making it harder to assess Hewitt. Another important note is that Joe drew a lot of walks and walk data has been not compiled for most of his career. It is possible Hewitt was the top shortstop in his league a couple years.
Hewitt broke in with the St. Louis Giants in 1910 when they were minor outfit. The next year, he hit .313 against top black teams, tying him for third among western teams. He batted .333 in 1912. In 1913, Joe played in the outfield. St. Louis only played three games against other top outfits and Joe hit a whopping .652 in that limited sample. He apparently joined the New York Lincoln Giants later in the year.
In 1916, Hewitt hit .222/.391/.222 for St. Louis in five games, stealing three bases. He fielded .800 in five games in left field. He batted .162/.262/.162 in 9 games for the Brooklyn Royal Giants. He fielded .868 at shortstop. His five steals tied him for second among top eastern teams. For the Poinciana Hotel in the Florida Hotel League, he batted .375.
Hewitt batted .227 for Detroit in 1920. In 1921, he returned to St. Louis and produced at a .238/.369/.288 clip. He led the Negro National League with 40 walks and tied teammate Oscar Charleston for the lead with 32 steals. In exhibitions that fall against the St. Louis Cardinals, he was 6 for 16 at the plate.
In 1922, Joe became the manager for St. Louis, which finished 23-35. He hit .268/.353/.323 and his 7 times hit by pitch tied Valentín Dreke for the NNL lead. He fielded .889 at shortstop but posted good percentages at his other positions (second, third and the outfield). In an exhibition series, he was 4 for 7 versus the Detroit Tigers to make him 10-for-23 against white major leaguers in his career.
Hewitt started 1923 in the same capacity and had the club at 17-23 when he was fired and replaced by Candy Jim Taylor on July 12. Joe had hit .340/.460/.390 in 34 games for St. Louis, fielding only .852 while splitting time primarily between left field and shortstop.
After being let go by St. Louis, Joe was picked up by the Milwaukee Bears six days later. He hit .231/.368/.231 in 24 games for the Bears (20 at SS) and fielded .889. He usually hit second in the order for them. He finished fourth in the NNL in stolen bases (19) and was 8th in walks (37). He did not play enough to qualify, or he might have ranked in the top 5 in OBP.
Hewitt spent part of 1924 as manager of the Birmingham Barons and also split second base duties for the Chicago American Giants with Bingo DeMoss; Hewitt hit .209. After a year awat from the big time, he returned as manager and second baseman of the 1926 Dayton Marcos. In his last season playing regularly, he hit .258. Dayton finished 7-32, next-to-last in the NNL.
Four years later, Hewitt returned as manager of the Nashville Elite Giants and they went 39-47. He moved on to the Cleveland Cubs in 1931 and they had a 25-28 record. Back at the Nashville helm in 1932, his team posted a 23-27 mark.
- NNL Bases on balls Leader (1921)
- NNL Stolen Bases Leader (1921)
- Postseason appearance: 1 (1932)
Year-By-Year Managerial Record
|1923||St. Louis Stars||Negro National League||17-23||--||St. Louis Stars||Replaced by Candy Jim Taylor|
|1924||Birmingham Black Barons||Negro National League||5-6||5th||Birmingham Black Barons||Replaced Sam Crawford (0-2), Charles Wesley|
(18-11) and Dizzy Dismukes (14-25)
|1930||Nashville Elite Giants||Negro National League||26-55||9th||Elite Giants|
|1931||Cleveland Cubs||Negro National League||26-26||2nd||Cleveland Cubs|
|1932||Nashville Elite Giants||Negro Southern League||26-27||4th||Elite Giants||Lost League Finals|
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- research by Gary Ashwill
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley
- 1923 Negro National League Yearbook, by Peter Ventura and Patrick Rock, Replay Publishing