A Biased Discussion of the Infamous Bill Hall
Cincinnati travels to the land of Pabst, Miller, and Milwaukee's Best to face the Brewers this weekend.
And every time they head to the new home of CC Sabathia, I can't help but think of my least favorite player in baseball.
Some may say I'm crazy for loathing a little known middle infielder, but those people don't know the real story.
Welcome to a biased discussion of the infamous Bill Hall.
Hall is in the middle of his sixth season in the bigs, all with Milwaukee. He's a career .260 hitter as of last night's game, with 93 home runs and 325 RBI, to accompany a mediocre .959 career fielding percentage.
But beyond all of that, Bill Hall is a vindictive pain in the in Cincinnati Reds' bum (or insert any anatomically correct body part here that is not allowed to be put in print.)
Bill Hall deserves profanity directed at him.
On Sept. 1, 2002, the Cincinnati Reds put forward a chain of events that led to what can only be described as insurmountable retaliation by an, at best, average, baseball player.
On that day, Hall made his first major-league at-bat in front 20,194 Cincinnati faithful, with the Brewers leading 4-2 in the top of the ninth. He uneventfully struck out swinging.
From that day forward, Bill Hall has had a vendetta against the organization that made his first big league appearance a failure. Please, let me take you on this ride.
Now, first I would like to emphasize that the Cincinnati Reds have not been a beacon of pitching prowess for the past seven seasons. We all know this.
But this display of annoyance that Hall has become goes way beyond the excuse of bad pitching.
He makes timely fielding plays, he's always at the root of a rally or game breaking run, and he has more home runs and RBI against the Reds than any other NL opponent since 2003.
Bill Hall has taken his first major-league at bat as his own rallying cry against everything that is the Cincinnati Reds.
Here's the stats:
Career: .260 BA
vs. the Reds: .308
In five seasons, he has only hit below .300 once against Cincy.
Career: 93 HRs
vs. the Reds: 18
20 percent of his career homers have come against Cincy. He's hit three of his 12 total homers this season against the Reds in only six games.
Career: 325 RBI
vs. the Reds: 52
That's 16 percent of his career RBI.
Career: 627 Ks
vs. the Reds: 65
That's a disproportionate 10.3 percent, compared to all his other stats.
Every fan has players they hate, for one reason or another, generally because they beat their team in excruciating fashion. I hate Christian Laettner as a UK fan. I hate Tom Brady as an OSU fan.
As a fan of an NL Central team, I watch plenty of Albert Pujols, Aramis Ramirez, and Lance Berkman, all of who have used the Great American Launching Pad for exactly what it was built for. They torture me every season with their own game-winning exploits.
But Bill Hall isn't Pujols, Ramirez, or Berkman. He's Bill friggin' Hall. He's merely a serviceable, multi-positional player that has averaged only 19 homers and 65 RBI in five full seasons.
That's it. No Hall of Fame numbers. No All-Star appearances. Why, oh why, does he torch the Reds? I'm not making this up...
Moments in the History of Bill Hall vs. the Reds (Highlights courtesy MLB.com)
First Career triple off Cincinnati
First Career Grand Slam—Apr. 16, 2007 off Todd Coffey in Cincinnati
Hit the first of five Brewers homers off Cincinnati in the same inning on Apr. 22, 2006
Drove in a career-high four runs en route to the biggest comeback in franchise history on Apr. 28, 2004 versus Cincinnati, helping the Brewers overcome a nine-run deficit. Contributed a two-run double in the eighth and walkoff bunt hit in 10th.
A walk-off two-run home run the night before as well, Apr. 27, 2004
After finishing '02 with Milwaukee as a call-up, was brought back to the club in July '03. He had his first multi-hit game, first four hit game, and homered in consecutive games in August, all vs. Cincinnati. He's hit .538 with two HRs and eight RBI vs. Cincy in six games in '03.
And this season, he had a game-winning, two-out, two-RBI double in the top of the 10th vs. the Reds on Apr. 19.
Now those are just facts I can officially report. You know those games you watch where you just think, "Dammit, that guy did it to us again."
Well that's the way it is with watching Bill Hall. He makes amazing defensive plays and does the little things that move the runner.
I want an archive of the Web Gems he's made against the Reds. I want to know how many times he's had hits that gave the Brewers the lead.
I guarantee at least three times a year he wins a game by himself. And that's a conservative estimate. So as Cincinnati embarks on another trip to Bud Selig Park, Hall is eating a hearty breakfast this morning. He knows he'll need his extra strength for all the bases he's about to run this weekend.
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