Monday, November 25, 2013

#114 Mel Hall

About the Front: Between his toothy grimace and one-handed follow through, it sure doesn't look like Mel Hall got all of that ball.

About the Back: Despite being "only" 32 at the end of the 1992 season and putting up above-league-average numbers, Hall went to Japan for the 1993 season. He spent a couple of years with the Chiba Lotte Marines and a single season with the Chunichi Dragons, and returned to the U.S. in 1996. An unsuccessful 25-game stint with the Giants (.120/.148/.120 in 27 plate appearances) put an unsatisfying capper on his big league time.

Triple Play:

1. Mel feasted on the pitching of Mark Gubicza (.434/.483/.585 in 58 PA), but had his share of trouble against Roger Clemens (.188/.233/.232 in 73 PA).

2. He was a better ballplayer than a human being. He mentored a young Bernie Williams by continually referring to him as "Mr. Zero", and shouting him down every time the outfield prospect attempted to speak. The soft-spoken Williams was reportedly near tears from this abuse. In hindsight, only one of this pair of players has zero World Series rings, zero All-Star selections, and zero Gold Gloves, and it ain't Bernie.

3. Need more proof of Hall's bona fides as a creep? He is currently serving a 45-year prison sentence for raping two underage girls while coaching their basketball team in the late 1990s. He will not be eligible for parole until the early 2030s.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I didn't grow up watching the likes of Mel Hall and Alvaro Espinoza on the forgettable Yankees squads of the early nineties, but my college roommate (a Yankee fan from central Jersey) did. He often name-checks Mel Hall as proof that he stuck through the bad times before enjoying the team's later run of success.

Bill James Said: Jack squat, since Mel was playing in the Far East in 1993.

On This Date in 1993: November 25. Burgess "Whitey" Whitehead, a reserve infielder from the 1934 Cardinals' "Gashouse Gang" team, dies of a heart attack at age 83. He was the last surviving member of that World Series-winning club. Later in his career, he was a two-time All-Star at second base for the New York Giants.


  1. I cringed as soon as I saw his name.

  2. I used to attend a teacher's conference held every summer down in south Texas, 'The Valley'. I'd always take in a few of the independent Texas League games in Edinberg and Harlingen. One year Mel Hall came through as part of the Springfield team. This was maybe 2002 or 2003. I couldn't decide if it was cool or sad that a former big leaguer was hanging around the lowest rung of the minor league ladder.

    I'd guess that very few of the local who showed up to watch were aware that they were seeing a guy who was once almost a Rookie of the Year.

  3. When I see the name Mel Hall I think of the Cubs - probably because of watching them all the time on WGN. He actually played more for other teams than for the Cubs.

  4. TTG - Unfortunately baseball is just a microcosm of society at large. Some guys are bound to be bad actors.

    Bob - It looks like it would have been 2002. He played 53 games for Springfield/Ozark and hit .324/.403/.397 at age 41. Impressive, but the skill level is probably light years away from the majors.

    Matthew - The Cubs dealt him along with Joe Carter to get Rick Sutcliffe. Not the worst deal ever.