Hall hits a 'home' run for Mom
Brewers slugger credits mother for never letting him give up
MILWAUKEE -- Some guys splurge on a new car, maybe a diamond-studded watch or a plasma TV.
When he signed his first multi-million contract over the winter, Brewers infielder-turned-outfielder Bill Hall bought his mother a house. They broke ground last week, right across the street from where Vergie raised Billy and his two bothers and two sisters in Nettleton, Miss.
No word yet on whether the new place will be painted bright pink.
"I hadn't thought about that," Hall said with a laugh. "It could be, because that's totally up to her."
Hall is admittedly a momma's boy, and Vergie Hall and the color pink were big parts of the signature moment of Hall's young career. It was last year on Mother's Day, when Hall and several other Brewers and Mets hitters swung pink bats as part of a leaguewide effort to raise funds and awareness for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a breast cancer charity.
Most of the players went back to their regular lumber after an at-bat or two but Hall stuck with his, and delivered a 10th-inning, game-winning home run. Vergie celebrated alongside 28,104 fans in the stands at Miller Park.
The story did not end there. The pink bats were put up for auction at MLB.com, and in early July, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio shelled out $25,535 -- the third-largest bid in the Web site's history -- for Hall's home run bat.
The money went to the Komen Foundation. The bat went to Vergie, who by that time was famous because her reaction to the home run was caught by the Brewers' television crew.
"I was really shocked," Vergie said when she received the bat. "When he hit the home run, my phone rang, but I couldn't concentrate on my phone and the home run at the same time. It was exciting."
Hall struck out in three of his first four plate appearances that day. With other players abandoning the pink lumber, why did Hall stick with his?
"It had her name on it," Hall said. "I mean, she's up there watching. Like I said, she's never let me give up, and I wasn't going to give up on the bat because I was having a tough time."
It was one of 35 home runs and one of 85 RBIs for Hall in 2006, team highs in both categories. He was rewarded over the winter with a three-year contract that guarantees $24 million and included a $500,000 signing bonus.
His first call was to a home builder in Mississippi. His second was to Mom.
"I always promised I would get her a house, since I was 5 years old, and I decided that I was going to make it to the big leagues," Hall said. "The first thing I did after signing the contract was get it arranged. She doesn't have to do anything but pick out all the stuff inside."
On Monday, before the Brewers began a series against the Nationals, Hall shipped his Mother's Day present. It was a large framed photo of the two of them at Miller Park last July, after Attanasio presented Vergie with the pink bat. The photo will have prominence in a room in the new house to be filled with Hall's baseball memorabilia.
The rest of the décor is up to Vergie.
"I told her she could do whatever she wants," Hall said.
Even if it means painting it pink.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.