Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#248 - Tom Hall

We get another Cincinnati action shot for the card of Tom Hall, about to let one go at Riverfront (I've messed up that location before). Tom was nearing the end of his role as one of the best lefty relievers in the game when this photo was taken. It was a pretty good run: 33-19 with 29 saves and way better than a strikeout an inning for four seasons. And he only weighed about 35 pounds. And he shouldn't be confused with the country singer who was big back then also. That guy's name was Tom T Hall.

Tom Hall was born in North Carolina then moved to and grew up in southern California. After he graduated high school in Riverside he attended the local college, Riverside City, which was sort of a minor league feeder back then. He was team MVP in '66 and was drafted and signed by the Twins that year. He started strongly, going 7-4 with a 1.97 ERA as a starter that year in Rookie and A ball. In '67 he went 14-5 with a 2.16 ERA in A ball and in '68 10-4 with a 1.93 ERA in a season split between Double and Triple A. Despite his size, Tom had a wicked fast ball, averaging over a strikeout an inning while coming up, and at the end of the '68 season he made it to the top, putting up excellent numbers as a spot starter and reliever. He continued in that role in '69 and saw his first post-season action that year. In '70 he became primarily a bullpen guy and started his run pretty magnificently, recording 184 K's in 157 innings. After another season with the Twins in '71 he was traded to the Reds for another bullpen ace, Wayne Granger.

Hall's first season with Cincinnati was nearly perfect, 10-1 with eight saves and a complete game. He would put up his best post-season numbers that year as well, going a combined 1-0 with a save and only one earned run against 15 strikeouts in 15 innings. In '73 he again had eight saves and an excellent record but his other numbers slipped a bit and he got bombed by the Mets in the playoffs. In '74 he went 3-1 with a save but only pitched 64 innings, probably due to an arm injury that occurred around this time and basically laid waste to his fastball. In '75 he went to the Mets early in the season for Mac Scarce and had a pretty poor year: 4-3 with a 4.75 ERA. More of the same followed in '76 in a season split between NY and Kansas City, where he got his final playoff time. After a few games for the Royals in '77 he was released and then signed with the Twins. But after putting up an ERA over 6.00 for Minnesota in Triple A he was done. Tom finished with a record of 52-33, a 3.27 ERA, 32 saves, and 797 strikeouts in 852 innings. In the post-season he went 1-1 with a save and a 3.57 ERA in 13 games. He struck out 22 in 22 innings.

After playing Tom worked as a supervisor at a company called Rohr Aero Space for a few years back in California before becoming a mailman in his old hood in '81, a job he did until he retired in '03.

Tom's given name is just that, Tom, so he is tied for others with the shortest name to date in the set. This is a great cartoon. Tom pretty much maxed out at this weight of 158 so his pitching power was pretty amazing.

Another California connection on the hookup:

1. Hall and Rod Carew '68 to '71 Twins;
2. Carew and Rick Miller '78 to '80 Angels.

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