Adam Hall began the back half of the Delmarva Shorebirds’ doubleheader Saturday with a single, then swiped second base — a sight manager Kyle Moore has seen several times as Hall has developed into one of the most consistent young hitting prospects in the Orioles’ system.
The 20-year-old is as steady as it comes, and it’s not just the volatile nature of baseball that tests him.
He played this weekend’s series in Hagerstown with his parents, Tyler and Helen, in the bleachers, adding a layer to Hall’s success that his longtime manager knows makes hits like that bigger than the game.
“I put myself in his shoes, and I don’t know how he does what he does, how he goes out there tonight and plays with his dad watching,” Moore said.
Tyler Hall was watching his son play after Tyler’s battle with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood plasma, restarted in May.
“He probably puts so much — an absurd amount of pressure on himself — and yet he continues to go out there and succeed,” Moore said. “Much respect for that. ... I think I might just fold up in a corner and quit, and here is Adam, just grinding every day.”
The long drive south to Hagerstown was on a much smaller scale for the Hall family than their visit to Salisbury last month to see their All-Star son continue a season in which he’s hit .304 with a .787 OPS, 30 extra-base hits, and 32 steals for playoff-bound Delmarva.
The Shorebirds held “Strike Out Cancer” night July 26 at Perdue Stadium, and with 30 of Hall’s family members and friends making the trip from Canada and Bermuda, Tyler Hall simply asked if he could join his son on the field before the game.
A willing Shorebirds organization was happy to oblige their star and his family.
Moore set up a locker beside Hall’s in the clubhouse for his father, replete with the special-edition jersey and Shorebirds gear. He was welcomed into the clubhouse as one of their own for the pregame workout and meetings, and Adam Hall caught the ceremonial first pitch from his father.
“It obviously was a pretty cool experience,” Adam Hall said. “My dad’s always been a part of my life, obviously, but especially helping me develop at baseball. To have him come out there like that and do that before a game at the professional level, it was cool.”
“It’s the same for all of us,” Tyler Hall said. “It’s pretty special, and thank goodness he was behind the plate — because he had to frame my pitch. He made it look like a strike, anyway.”
Moore said it was the first time in their two years together he saw Hall get emotional.
“Everybody looks out there and when you see that, you put yourself right in those shoes,” Moore said. “You think about your dad, and you think about what he might be going through.”
Adam Hall doesn’t believe baseball is a respite from his family’s fight. He said that he tries to think only about the game once he’s on the field, but he doesn’t see his career as a break from any of it.
“It’s a part of my life,” he said. “I don’t think I’m escaping it.”
He came to the Orioles as a second-round draft pick in 2017 with a lifetime of experiences that prepared him for whatever strain might come with a game that takes him away from his family in body, if not in spirit, at this testing time.
Born in Bermuda, Hall lived there until he was 12 before baseball brought him to his father’s homeland in Canada.
“He was good there, and the level of ball in Bermuda is not that high,” Helen Hall said. “He was fortunate that he came through with a group of kids that were just older than him that he could play up with, and he did camps up in Canada when we went up there for the summers and stuff.
“They basically told us that if he wants to do anything, he has to get out. Luckily, we had family in Canada, so he went. He did it, he loved it. He stayed with his coach, and it was pretty seamless. We missed him more than he missed us.”
What came next was preparation for being away from his parents as a professional, most of which overlapped with his father’s early treatments. He was away extensively for camps and travel teams; when he was with the Canadian Junior National Team, they went on trips to Japan and Australia, plus spring training trips to Florida. Then and now, they rarely talked baseball unless Hall brought it up.
They learned to be away, though this year’s circumstances make the time together more valuable. Hall was a South Atlantic League All-Star, but didn’t participate; he took a week before the break to go be with his father in Canada.
Moore has mostly been left to marvel at how Hall has not only kept his head above water, but thrived this year. Both the coaches and the players said that Hall isn’t immune to moments of frustration in the dugout.
Hall’s mother, however, said he’s always been like this. He has a soft-spoken personality just like his father, and he’s treated the game that’s now his job this way for as long as anyone can remember.
“That’s been him,” Helen Hall said. “He’s never wavered from this. People used to ask us, ‘How do you get him to be so focused? How do you get him to work this hard?’