Ducks get an experienced utility player who's done it all
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Bill Hall is the ultimate utility man. The 33-year old, who recently signed with the Ducks after playing for six MLB teams over his 11-year career, has logged more than 1,000 innings at four different positions in the majors. He has started games at all three spots in the outfield and everywhere on the infield except first base, and even threw a perfect inning of relief for the Red Sox in 2010. In fact, that one appearance out of the bullpen put him in legendary company, as he joined Babe Ruth as a player who has thrown a perfect inning in his career and has had a season in which he's hit at least 35 home runs (Hall did that with the Brewers in 2006). But Hall's versatility doesn't end there. In 2007, he played himself in an episode of CBS' "The Young and the Restless." We asked Hall about his mixed bag of talents, some of his old MLB teammates and his recent signing with the Ducks.
What does it mean to be mentioned in the same sentence as Babe Ruth?
I didn't know that I was in a category with Babe Ruth. I knew I hit 35 homers and pitched that inning, but I had no idea. That's a pretty great category. Any time you're compared to Babe Ruth, I mean, to me he's the second-best player to ever play the game.
Then who's the best player ever, in your mind?
Barry Bonds hands down. He's ahead of everybody. He got pitched to maybe once a week and put it out . . . He didn't get pitched to for three or four days at a time and would throw one swing out there a week and it went a long way.
It's hard to mention Barry Bonds without bringing up the connections to performance enhancing drugs, and that issue is in the news again in regards to your old teammate Ryan Braun. What's your take on that?
The game is trying to clean up so it's just an unfortunate thing. Personally I don't think any differently about those guys, and especially Brauny. He's a teammate of mine and I know that he's a good guy and it's just unfortunate that it all came out and it's going to get blown up because it's a thing to talk about right now . . . It may make Congress to step in again, which would be really unfortunate.
What do you say about your versatility on the field?
It's a gift and a curse. It's a gift because I was blessed to be athletic enough to do a bunch of things and help the team out in different ways, but at the same time I feel like my career possibly could have been a little different if I played one position. Instead of going into spring training and learning something new every year, I feel like sometimes that took my mind off of hitting and concentrated way more on defense, so I didn't get to focus on hitting as much as I would have liked. My years didn't turn out as well as I thought they should have, but at the same time it kept me in the game a long time and it allows me now to be able to help a team in a number of different positions . . . Here I'm playing everywhere.
What's your favorite position?
I came up as a shortstop and Ozzie Smith was my favorite player growing up. I've been playing that since I was five years old.
What was it like being on a soap opera? Are you a soap fan?
I'm not a huge fan, but I got into soaps a little bit. I think it was senior year of high school, and I think it was Days of Our Lives . . . I used to skip class and skip school a little bit to go watch the show. It was really interesting at the time and a girlfriend of mine was watching it so I watched it a few times and got addicted for a little bit but it was short-lived. But I was just in one episode of The Young and the Restless with some teammates and it was fun. I'm part of the actor's guild now so that's cool and it was fun and a good memory."
What's your favorite memory as a baseball player?
Probably Mother's Day is the one that most people remember about me, hitting the walk-off home run with the pink bat. I was the first guy to do that in the first year they had the pink bats. My mom was in the stands and it was a good memory, especially for her because she got to be on camera for a little bit there, ha-ha. And every Mother's Day it's the No. 1 play on ESPN so that's the best memory, and then making it to the playoffs with the Brewers and helping turn that organization around and playing with those guys.
One of those guys you played with in Milwaukee was CC Sabathia, what's something you can tell Yankee fans about him?
He's obviously one of my best friends, we go on vacation every year together and do a lot of stuff together. He's a good dude and he's competitive. There's no one else I'd rather have on the mound in a big game, and obviously he's proven that with the Yankees in the toughest division in baseball.