Friday, March 07, 2008
Classic card of the week
Mel Hall, 1990 Topps
Ignorance is indeed bliss, and as a young child, I enjoyed rooting for Mel Hall.
Like every Yankee fan, Don Mattingly was nothing short of an icon, and while he remained unquestionably my favorite athlete, Mel Hall served as a refreshing contrast to the business-like, non-sexually-assaulting, consistent approach of Donnie Baseball. Hall had a swagger to him, and he exhibited and inspired confidence at the plate. He was fun, and different, and I liked him.
Little did I know at the time that Mel Hall was a clubhouse cancer, trying his darndest to derail the young career of a future Yankee stalwart, Bernie Williams. From the blog bronxbanter, a snippet from Joel Sherman’s book, Birth of a Dynasty:
Hall taped "Mr. Zero" to the top of Williams's locker to signify that he meant nothing to the team. One day Hall nearly brought Williams to tears by saying, "Zero, shut up," every time Williams tried to speak. The more Williams tried, the louder Hall interrupted with repetitive chants of "Zero."
Solid guy. And I also was unaware that the future would bring several sexual assault charges against him. But hey, I’m not here to judge Mel Hall. So he gave a young player a hard time…so what? I mean, geez -- maybe Bernie can grow a pair, ya’ know? (If a young Bernie Williams thought "Zero" was bad, he should come to our annual fantasy baseball draft.) In fact, maybe Mel Hall gets a bad rap. For more, let’s check the back of the card:
Mel has become interested in the art of barbering and has given haircuts to teammates before games.
Hmmm, strange that this little known fact was curiously absent from Sherman’s book. Also strange that Hall would find an interest in the “art of barbering,” himself boasting a legendary jheri curl. However, it was Mel Hall who convinced Mattingly to shave his sideburns, and it was Hall who once gave manager Stump Merrill a bomb-ass fade. During his stint playing in Japan, Mel Hall hit a then-record 7,050 home runs, and also revolutionized the bowl cut.
Did you know?
Bernie Williams cried through the first half hour of Sweeny Todd, as it gave him flashbacks of the time Mel Hall promised to make him look like Big Daddy Kane.