Friday, June 19, 2009

Bye-bye, Mel Hall


Mel Hall was an outfielder during the 1980s (amd a little bit of the '90s) who I tended to think was better than he really was.

The man was, ideally, a platoon corner-outfielder/ DH, like his contemporary Randy Bush of the Twins.

The difference was that Bush had managers who recognized his liabilities. Tom Kelly, Ray Miller, Billy Gardner — these guys didn't try to play him in 150 games a year, didn't feed him 500-plus plate appearances. Hall's managers frequently had greater illusions about his abilities.

The thing I really remember about Hall was his habit of stuffing a bunch of extra batting gloves in his rear pocket with the fingers dangling out. The idea was that when he was running around the bases, the gloves would be waving bye-bye to the infielders.

Now we can all wave bye-bye to Hall. On Wednesday he got a 45-year sentence for raping a 12-year-old girl, a player on a basketball team he coached. There was testimony from other women who said he molested or raped them as minors; some of this activity is said to have occurred during his playing days. He's been charged in at least one of those cases too.

Hall is 48 now; he won't be eligible for parole for 22 1/2 years, so he figures to be 70 or more when he gets out. If he ever gets out.

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