George William Hall
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 7", Weight 142 lb.
- Debut May 5, 1871
- Final Game October 6, 1877
- Born March 29, 1849 in Stepney, England
- Died June 11, 1923 in Ridgewood, NJ USA
George Hall was an outfielder for 12 years (1866-1877), in the earliest years of organized baseball.
He was 22 years old when the the first professional league was formed, the National Association. He made his league debut on May 5, 1871, with the Washington Olympics. He played in the National Association for all five seasons during which it operated (1871-1875), then played in the National League's first two seasons (1876-1877). He also served as a substitute umpire in the National Association from 1873 to 1875. He was the first National League player to hit for the cycle, doing so on June 14, 1876.
He was a power-hitting outfielder, usually among league leaders in various categories of Long Hits, Total Bases and Slugging Average. He was one of the hitting stars of the National League's inaugural season in 1876. Playing for the Philadelphia Athletics, he had 98 hits, 51 runs, 7 doubles, 13 triples, 5 home runs, 45 RBI and (.366/.384/.545) in 60 games; his OPS+ that year was an extraordinary 207. Overall, he had 538 hits, 377 runs, 68 doubles, 53 triples, 13 home runs, 249 RBI and (.322/.337/.449) in 365 games in the NA and NL.
1877 Game Throwing
On September 5, 1877, Hall and Jim Devlin, playing for the Louisville Grays, agreed to throw the next day's game, on the road against the Cincinnati Reds, for $25 apiece. Louisville lost the game 1-0. This was part of a disastrous late-season road trip in which the seemingly pennant-bound Louisville club lost seven straight games. The losing streak was characterized by "bonehead" plays and poor pitching. The Grays relinquished their lead and eventually finished second, trailing the Boston Red Caps by three games. Meanwhile, certain Grays were seen around town donning fancy new jewelry and ostentatiously dining at exclusive top restaurants.
This suspicion increased as the players performed very well in post-season exhibition matches. The team vice president, Charles Chase, who had earlier received but disregarded telegrams informing him that gamblers were betting against the Grays in certain games, began an investigation. At the end of the season, suspicion arose that players were being paid to intentionally lose games. Chase demanded that his players allow him to inspect their papers. On October 26th, Chase confronted Hall and Devlin with charges that they threw road games in August and September. Both admitted to throwing non-league games and implicated teammates Al Nichols and Bill Craver. Admitting his involvement, Hall was expelled from the club.
On December 2nd, at the League Board of Directors meeting, William Hulbert, the president of the National League, decided to make a stand against gambling. He immediately banned Devlin, Hall, Nichols and Craver for life. Hall never suited up again.
- NL Home Runs Leader (1876)
- William A. Cook: The Louisville Grays Scandal of 1877: The Taint of Gambling at the Dawn of the National League
Principal sources for George Hall include newspaper obituaries (OB), government records (VA,CM,CW), Sporting Life (SL), Baseball Digest, The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (none) (WW), old Baseball Registers (none) (BR), TSN's Daguerreotypes (none) (DAG), The Historical Register, The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase(PD), The Baseball Library (BL); various Encyclopediae including The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball by Turkin & Thompson (T&T), MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia (Mac), Total Baseball (TB), The Bill James Historical Abstract (BJ) and The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (LJ); Retrosheet (RS), The Baseball Chronology (BC), Baseball Page (BP), The Baseball Almanac (BA), Baseball Cube (B3), The National Association of Baseball Players (1857-1870) by Marshall D. Wright and obituaries at deadballera.com (DBE) as well as research by Reed Howard (RH), Pat Doyle (PD) and Frank Hamilton (FH).