Tall Dick Hall was a man of many athletic talents. Never was that more apparent than at Swarthmore College, where he won 10 varsity letters in five different sports.
In football one year, he was the sixth-leading receiver in NCAA Division III. In basketball, he was the 6-foot-6 1/2 center. In baseball, he was the star outfielder/pitcher. In soccer, he played in one game and scored a goal in a 9-0 win. In track, he set a school long jump record of 23- 1/4 that still stands more than 40 years later.
After breaking into pro baseball as an outfielder/third baseman, Hall turned in a unique double in back-to-back winters in the Pacific Coast League of Mexico. He set a league record of 20 home runs in 80 games and the next season established the league ERA record of 1.21.
"Not too many guys have done that," Hall said, laughing.
Although occasionally called upon to pinch run, Hall worked as a pitcher for 19 years in the major leagues, including tenures with the Orioles from 1961 to 1966 and 1969 to 1971. He also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies.
He acquired his nickname, Turkey, in a fall camp with the Pirates. Catcher Joe Garagiola saw Hall, who has a long neck, eating and exclaimed, "Look at that turkey gobbler."
Primarily a relief pitcher whose motion resembled that of a man throwing darts, Hall relied on pinpoint control. With the Orioles in 1969, for example, he issued three non-intentional walks (nine total) in 65 2/3 innings. In his 19 seasons, he had a 93-75 record -- including 9-1 with the Orioles in 1964 -- and a 3.32 ERA.
A Timonium resident since the early 1960s, Hall, 64, is a semi-retired accountant who has worked for three Baltimore firms. Now that tax season is about over, he is devoting most of his time to golf.
"While I was with Salt Lake in 1958, I missed the entire season with hepatitis and took accounting courses at the University of Utah to pass the time," Hall said. "I began working part-time for Main, La- Frentz my first year with the Orioles and passed the CPA exam in 1969. I went full-time when I retired in 1971."
Tennis was one of Hall's passions until his knee became cranky. He turned to golf, and plays about four times a week and also works as a starter at Longview Golf Course.
Hall dabbled in coaching when his son, David, was playing sandlot baseball. "The star third baseman/pitcher on my 14-16 team was Billy Ripken," Hall said. He has been active in the Oriole Advocates, a booster group, but never to the extent that it interferes with golf.
Next week: The pitcher who has held the Orioles' record of 36 consecutive scoreless innings in one season for 34 years.