Jimmie Hall

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This article is about the baseball player. For the singer, see Jimmy Hall.
Jimmie Hall
Outfielder
Born: (1938-03-17) March 17, 1938 (age 76)
Mount Holly, North Carolina
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 9, 1963 for the Minnesota Twins
Last MLB appearance
September 13, 1970 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
Batting average .254
Home runs 121
RBI 391
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Jimmie Randolph Hall (born March 17, 1938) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and left-handed batter who played for the Minnesota Twins (1963–66), California Angels (1967–68), Cleveland Indians (1968–69), New York Yankees (1969), Chicago Cubs (1969–70) and Atlanta Braves (1970).

Minor league career[edit]

After attending Belmont High School and playing baseball, Hall was signed as an amateur free agent by the Washington Senators on June 21, 1956 following his high school graduation.[1] After signing, Hall was assigned to the Superior, NE Senators in the D-level Nebraska State League where he made an immediate impression-hitting .385 with 15 home runs, 6 triples, and 11 doubles in only 58 games.[2] However he would fail to build on, or even equal, this level of production at the plate and would languish for the next six full seasons in the minors before seeing the major leagues. Promoted to the Kinston Eagles in the B-level Carolina League in 1957 on the strength of his debut season, Hall would regress in his sophomore season and only hit .233 with 6 home runs in 133 games. Forced to repeat the same level in 1958, Hall regained some of his power stroke, belting 17 home runs and 14 doubles to go along with a .267 batting average in 75 games for the Fox Cities Foxes in the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League before being promoted to Single-A Charlotte Hornets in the South Atlantic League for the final 9 games of their season.

In 1959, Hall was promoted to the AA Southern Association and spent the entire seasons with the Chattanooga Lookouts. However, he continued to be unimpressive at the plate, hitting .245 with 11 home runs and 57 RBI in 133 games. Hall also was given an extended tryout at shortstop (with the Senators typically only having all-field, no-hit options on the major league roster), but he would struggle in the field at this new position and commit 24 errors in only 78 games. Although Hall would be promoted to the AAA Charleston Senators in 1960, he'd hit only .227 with 9 home runs and 30 RBI in 110 games in which he see double digit starts at second, third, shortstop, and the outfield. 1961 and 1962 would be lost seasons for Hall in which he would play in only 54 total games spread over three AAA teams, the Syracuse Chiefs, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vancouver Mounties, hitting a combined .232. The only bright spot would be that the Senators gave up with trying to convert Hall in a utility infielder and he saw all his playing time in the outfield. Maybe coincidentally, Hall would hit .313 with 3 home runs and 18 RBI in 24 games with Vancouver in 1962.

Major leagues[edit]

After not spending a day in the major leagues, Hall went north with the Twins as a reserve outfielder behind future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew in left field, all-star and former Rookie of the Year Bob Allison in right, and veteran Lenny Green in center.[3] Hall would get off to an inauspicious start, hitting only .185 through the first 48 games,[4] but a mid-June injury to Green would give Hall the chance to showcase himself for an extended period of time and he never looked back. Starting on June 8,[5] Hall would be the starting centerfielder and he'd sparkle, hitting .276 with 31 of his 33 home runs, 72 of his 80 RBI, and 72 of his 88 runs over the Twins final 116 games.[6] Hall's home run total would set a career high, rank fourth in the AL in 1963, and still stands as the AL record for home runs by a first-year player (with not even a game of prior major league experience), topping Ted Williams' 31 homers in 1939. At the end of the season, he would finish third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind a pair of Chicago White Sox, third baseman Pete Ward and starting pitcher Gary Peters.[7] Hall's breakout rookie season was more than enough for him to supplant Green as the Twins' center fielder going forward and Green would be traded early in the 1964 season to the Los Angeles Angels as part of a three-team trade with the Baltimore Orioles with the Twins receiving utilityman Frank Kostro and infielder Jerry Kindall in return.[8]

Handed the center fielder job to start the 1964 season, Hall had a decent sophomore season but did not quite reproduce his 1963 production. Although he would raise his batting average to .282, but his power would fall off somewhat with a 24% drop in home runs (from 33 to 25) and a 40% drop in triples (5 to 3). The Twins would also see a drop off, going from 91 win, third place finish in 1963 to 79 wins and sixth in the 10-team AL. However, Hall would be named to his first All-Star in 1964, along with teammates Killebrew, Allison, Tony Oliva, and Camilo Pascual, and would be a 9th inning defensive replacement for the AL starter in centerfield, Mickey Mantle.[9] On May 2, 1964, Minnesota became the third club in the MLB history to hit four consecutive home runs in the same inning, as Oliva, Allison, Hall, and Killebrew all connected in the top of the 11th inning in a 3–3 tie game. With 3 home runs off Kansas City Athletics reliever Dan Pfister and Killebrew's off his replacement, Vern Handrahan, the Twins would pull out a 7–3 victory.[10] On May 27 versus the Los Angeles Angels, he led off the fifth inning and was hit on the cheek by a pitch from fire-balling southpaw Bo Belinsky.[11] Hall immediately exited the game, but returned to the starting lineup about a week later and then played well for the remainder of the season while wearing a special protective flap on his batting helmet. However, this beaning and his already feeble showing against left-handed pitchers contributed to his being timid and ineffective versus southpaws, hitting .187 with only 4 of his 121 career home runs,[12] and could help explain why he was finished as a productive player by his sixth season.

Hall's 1965 would basically be a carbon copy of the previous season and would see him hit career highs in average (.285), RBI (86), doubles (25), and stolen bases (14), but would also see another drop in home runs to 20. Showcasing both his power and speed, Hall not only hit 20 home runs in 1965 but also beat out 20 infield singles.[1][13] He would be named to his last all-star team in the July 13 game that was played at Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium, along with five fellow Twins (first baseman Harmon Killebrew, catcher Earl Battey, pitcher Mudcat Grant, and shortstop Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva), and went hitless with a walk and a run in two plate appearances after pinch hitting for pitcher Pete Richert in the bottom of the fifth inning and moving over to center field in place of starter Vic Davalillo to start the sixth.[14] Due to his struggles against lefties in 1965 (a .240 batting average), in a World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers with five of the seven games started by 1965 Cy Young Award winner Sandy Koufax or fellow lefty Claude Osteen, Hall would only play in two games (both started by right hander Don Drysdale) and would strike out five times with one hit and one walk in 7 plate appearances. Instead, little used fourth outfielder Joe Nossek, who'd been to bat only 170 times and only hit .228 against lefties himself in 1965, but who unlike Hall was righthanded, received the bulk of the playing time in the outfield and the Twins would go down in defeat to the Dodgers four games to three.[15]

1966 would see a big drop in Hall's playing time (from 148 games to 120) as the Twins would more often sit him against tough lefties. Rookie left hander Ted Uhlaender would be given significant playing time in center as Hall would play all three outfield positions, with most of his time being in left in place of ailing slugger Allison. With reduced playing time, Hall saw an across-the-board drop in all statistical categories, hitting only .239 with 20 home runs, 47 RBI, and 7 doubles (falling off a cliff from 1965's 25 doubles), but would still slug at least 20 home runs for the fourth season in a row. Deciding to employ the light-hitting Uhlaender full-time in center, the Twins traded Hall on December 2 to the Angels along with reliever Pete Cimino and first baseman Don Mincher for starter Dean Chance and a player to be named (which would become infielder Jackie Hernandez on April 10, 1967).

Employed similarly in 1967, Hall would share time in a lefty/righty platoon with Bubba Morton, getting only 41 at-bats against left handers in 129 games (hitting a pathetic .098 with one extra base hit), and would put up similar numbers to 1966 (.249, 16 HRs and 55 RBI) and reaching double figures in home runs for the fifth consecutive season. However, he would be finished as a full-time player. Starting the season hitting only .214 in the first 46 games, the Angels would trade the struggling Hall on June 15, 1968 to the Cleveland Indians for fellow center fielder Davalillo. The change of scenery would not help Hall as he would hit only .198 in 53 games.

In eight seasons, Hall batted .254 with 121 home runs, 391 RBI, 387 runs, 100 doubles, 24 triples, and 38 stolen bases in 963 games.

References[edit]

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