Sever Hopes to Create Different Drive for Cleveland
Rob McLamb | On 02, Jul 2014
Joe Sever hopes to one day to reach Cleveland and have as large of an impact as his uncle did almost 30 years ago. The Carolina Mudcats infielder hopes he will be looked at much more fondly when it is all said and done.
The nephew of Hall-of-Fame quarterback—and renowned Cleveland Browns tormentor—John Elway, Sever was selected by the Indians in the 21st round of the 2012 Major League Draft after attending Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. The San Jose-native was eager to begin his professional career and eager to put the many lesson that he learned growing up in a prominent athletic family to use.
“Growing up I was used to seeing my uncle in the ‘bright lights’ and how he handled it and the professional side of sports, not just the on-the-field stuff,” Sever said. “I know what to expect. I saw (Elway) handle it. He has some great advice about it. He helped me to keep the focus on the field. It definitely benefitted me a lot.”
“Hopefully one day I can redeem the family name in Cleveland a little bit,” Sever quipped.
Like his Uncle John, a former baseball prospect for the New York Yankees, and grandfather,, a former Stanford head coach Jack Elway, Sever has a strong passion for football. While the love is there, Sever ultimately felt baseball was more pragmatic and has not looked back.
“I always had a love for football. To be honest, I loved football a lot more growing up,” Sever recalled. Just to see my uncle play helped. When I got to high school, I broke my collarbone my first game my freshman year and then my ankle my first game of sophomore year so I was out for two years of football during high school which helped push me towards the baseball route.”
“I never thought I would be big enough to play professional football. I kind of had a shot to play in college but I knew it was a long shot. Now that I play baseball, I like to take my football mentality out on the baseball diamond.”
His play on the field and at the plate has shown that he is indeed a prospect with a bright future with an opportunity to make a name for himself. Having moved all around the infield and overcoming an injury that delayed the start to his 2014 campaign with the Mudcats, Sever has continued the fine work in Class-A Advanced ball since being promoted to Carolina late last season.
In 42 games with the Mudcats over the past two seasons combined, Sever is batting .338 with 16 RBIs. He also has shown flashes of versatility, as the college second baseman has added first and third base to his repertoire.
“It feels good to be back, getting hurt on the first day was a little of a buzz-kill,” Sever said. “Getting back to the team and getting into that competitive atmosphere was nice. The ability to play multiple positions will only help me in the long run. I played second base mostly in college, then I came here and I moved to third, then first. I’d like to think that I can play wherever. Hopefully that will take me further.”
When the call came from Cleveland in 2012, Sever was delighted to be joining the Tribe. He has been especially impressed with the approach towards development in the organization.
“It was awesome,” Sever recalled about being selected by the Indians. “It was a dream come true. Just the thought that a team saw something in you and wanted to give you a chance to play was a great experience. [The Indians] give guys opportunities to move up. They made big moves in the two off-seasons ago, signing Francona and Swisher, and they also made the playoffs so it is obvious they want to win now. You like to see the organization that represents you and pays you do well. I think that trickles down to the lower levels.”
Winning is not the only lesson Sever learned from the Cleveland Indians last season. Having spent two Spring Trainings with the Tribe, the infielder was given to the chance to work with the big leagues and came away impressed.
“I got to play a couple big league games this Spring Training,” Sever said. “Just to be around them in the dugout and observe the lifestyle they live, how hard they work to get where they are and, more importantly, how hard they work to stay where they are, are all big lessons I learned. It is interesting. They are guys like us goofing around.”
Sever hopes to one day use his family background, versatility and the observation of Major Leaguers at Cleveland’s Spring Training in Arizona to full effect and earn a shot in the Majors one day. To get the promotion to Progressive Field would mean a lot to second-year professional.
“I say draft day was a dream come true but to get [to Cleveland] would be even better,” Sever said. “It is why we do what we do every day and work so hard. To hopefully get there one day, it would just be beyond words.”
Photo: Carolina Mudcats