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Must-click link: The Many Crimes of Mel Hall

Jul 17, 2014, 9:45 AM EST

Mel Hall AP

Mel Hall is a Major League Baseball version of “that guy” for people my age. He never starred, but he was visible. He never played for winning teams but he was a halfway-decent player for bad ones. You probably remember his baseball cards more than remember him playing. The name is just north of the anonymity line in that, when you hear it, it makes you think “oh, yeah, the ballplayer from the 80s,” whereas someone just a notch down from him would require a Baseball-Reference.com search to confirm that, yes, he did play in the bigs.

He’s also at a level where you can be forgiven if you didn’t give him a single thought after he stopped playing. And if you didn’t give him a single thought, it means you missed the fact that he was arrested, charged and convicted of raping multiple young girls — some as young as 12-years-old — during and following his playing career. He’s now in a Texas prison, where he’ll be for at least another 17 years.

Yesterday Greg Hanlon of SB Nation wrote an in-depth look at Mel Hall and his awful crimes. It’s not for the feint of heart. The term “monster” gets used for a lot of bad guys, but it is an understatement in Hall’s case. Hanlon, through an in-depth look at the police and court records and interviews with some of Hall’s victims, explains how Hall used his fame, his friendly, outgoing nature and no small amount of bald-faced lying to get close to the young girls on which he preyed.

One clear takeaway here is that there is real evil in the world. But another one is that Hall couldn’t have done what he did nearly as easily if he had not been a professional athlete and if professional athletes were not treated the way they are treated in our society.

  1. largebill - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Craig,

    Realize we have our disagreements on some issues, but on behalf of Indians’ (and Cubs and Giants) fans, let me be first to thanks you for choosing a picture of Hall in a Yankees uniform.

    • largebill - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      *thank you* vice “thanks you.” I really hate noticing a typo just as I hit submit.

      • jarathen - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:59 AM

        It’s all right. Craig typed “feint of heart.”

      • paperlions - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:04 AM

        Me too man, me too. I usually just cuss under my breath a little and think “screw it, they know what I mean”.

  2. lukedunphysscienceproject - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    If you can get past chapter one without wanting to vomit, you’re a stronger man than I. The parents of the victim were so star struck and greedy that not only did they let him move into their house, they moved out of their own master bedroom so Hall could share it with their 15 year old daughter.

    • jarathen - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      Right? As a parent I know I can’t protect my child from everything, and that’s tough, but I would never in a million years do what these awful parents did. I’ll never understand parents who use their children as vehicles for their own success.

    • jm91rs - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      “In deference to Hall’s promise (to not touch Jennifer until she was 18), Jennifer’s mother let Hall meet his needs with other women on the road, happily signing onto that condition if it meant that Hall would marry her daughter and take care of the family for the rest of their lives.”

      -I’m stuck right there now. After she moves into her daughter’s room so that her 15 year old daughter can share a bed with this man, they had a conversation in which she granted him permission to sleep with women on the road, in exchange for not sleeping with her daughter? I’m just as angry with her parents as I am with him at this point in the story.

      • phillychris - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        What I don’t understand is how someone can give you a “thumbs down” for this comment? Who actually thinks this comment is wrong?????

      • lzbthdunn - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        Very good point. Makes you think there’s more to this story than what “Jennifer” is telling. Again, no one has heard his version.

    • Bob Loblaw - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      I also couldn’t get past chapter 1, mostly because of the parents. Sure Hall is a scumbag and he deserves to go to jail, but what about her parents? I really don’t feel like reading any further…do those idiots go to jail? They should. They basically sold their teenage daughter into sexual slavery. There’s a place in hell reserved for Mel Hall, but right along side of him is a couple spots for her mom and her dad.

      • bringin1234 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        read the whole thing because I was kind of hoping someone took a baseball bat to him. But yeah those first parents WTF. Was sad what they did and she realizes it by saying they don’t have the best relationship (paraphrasing). Dude got messed up in jail. Little jailhouse justice for a major creep.

        to his defenders…. well, I don’t even know how you can defend that POS, so I don’t know what to even say

    • xmatt0926x - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      I agree. I couldn’t figure out who the bigger monster was after reading the story about the 1st girl, Jennifer Diaz. At certain points I actually read parts twice to make sure I actually read it correctly. So starstruck that they not only condone a pro athlete obsessively contacting their underage daughter, but let him move in and very shortly after share a bedroom with their 15 year old daughter. Wow.

      But hey, he did build them an in-ground pool, right? He purchased a Corvette for the dad. What the hell. That’s worth whoring out your child, right? Un-effin’ real. People are just horrible.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      I somehow read the whole thing… It was like a horrified fascination that gripped me, not like a car crash you can’t look away from… it sickens me that such a person existed, and saddens me that he couldn’t have been caught earlier to avoid more victims, and scares me that there are other “humans” out there like him.

      • phillychris - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        I read the whole thing for the sole purpose that I know what to look for when I eventually have children. I want to know what the signs are that I need to look for when I finally reproduce.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        Your comment makes me want to read it because it’s important to recognize that side of life and be ready to deal with it if necessary.

  3. ella0416 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    I read this yesterday and it was one of the most disturbing pieces I’ve ever read. What’s even more disturbing is the number of supporters he appears to have all over the Internet.

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      The internet can be a vile and disturbing place. I wasn’t surprised to hear that there were trolls defending him. In this case, they sound so pathetic and sad in their defenses of him that it almost makes him look worse.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        Anonymity can bring out the worst in people.

  4. fleaman1381 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I couldn’t even get through chapter one. The parents should be in prison right next to Hall.

    • xmatt0926x - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      Agree 100%

    • spacenettle - Jul 18, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      I made it part way through chapter two and had to stop. Squick!

  5. zzalapski - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Good gravy. I’m glad he and Chad Curtis will be locked away for a long, long time.

  6. sdelmonte - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    I want to note that there is also a little heroism in there, in the willingness of those two young women to come forward and see to it that Hall got punished.

    Also want to note that even though a lot SBNation’s stuff is pretty run of the mill, and occasionally really silly, they have a commitment to running long-form features every so often, and those features tend towards the well-written and the intelligent.

  7. Glenn - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    I was at a Yankee-Red Sox game at Fenway and Mel Hall went headfirst into the Monster. After being down for a while and attended to, he got up to a polite applause. My friend turned to me as I was clapping and asked why I would clap for Hall – he was evil. Kind of weird at the time because my friend isn’t the type for hyperbole.

    Apropos of nothing, Mike Greenwall hit an inside the park grand slam that day, a screamer past Kevin Maas at first that rolled around the corner in right. I probably won’t see one of those again live. Same friend pointed out that if Mattingly wasn’t taking the day off, it would have been a double play.

    • twinfan24 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      Your friend sounds like a ball of fun

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        First off, I accidentally hit report instead of reply. So is anyone official is reading this, I didn’t mean that.

        But let me see if you have this straight. Are you making fun of Glenn’s friend for calling a child molester evil?

  8. ejheim62 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    for all that’s Holy, what parent would EVER let an adult sleep in the same room as their 15 year old daughter, much less MOVE THEMSELVES OUT OF THEIR OWN BEDROOM so the two could use it? what in the world???? I have a 28 year old daughter living at home, and I don’t let her adult boyfriend sleep over, EVER. good God!

    • abaird2012 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      Two things wrong with that statement:

      1) Why would you have a 28-year-old daughter living at home?

      2) Why would you not allow two adults to sleep together at your house?

      But, yeah, Hall is a creepy pig and the parents are sub-cretinous.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        His house, his rules.

      • tedwmoore - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        Lots of reasons a 28-year-old would stay with his/her parents: saving money by not paying rent, recovering from an injury, recent divorce, in transit while moving….lots of reasons.

        Also, way to focus on the truly meaningful here.

      • ejheim62 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        Daughter is living with us while she completes the college she didn’t finish when she got married at 21 and had a kid at 23 – then husband dumped her at 25. So yeah, it’s kind of sad she’s 28 and living at home, but I do want to help out while she rebuilds her life.

        As for the boyfriend sleeping over, yeah, they’re adults – and they can also go get a hotel room if the want to bump uglies. Not in my house, kids!

      • Reflex - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        I hope you don’t mind when you and your wife are given the same rules when you are old and being cared for by your adult daughter. Her house, her rules, eh?

        Or maybe adults should be permitted to be adults so long as they are not being disruptive to the household.

  9. chattolanee10 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    These young ladies were members of dysfunctional families with immature parents who should be charged with terminal stupidity. They pimped out their children and should be charged with accessory to Hall’s crimes.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      Maybe that applies to the first family in the story. It doesn’t apply to all of them.

      • lmswansi - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM

        I think it is more than “maybe,” Craig. They literally moved out of their bedroom, and let a 28-year-old man take over their bedroom with their 15-year-old daughter! Talk about aiding and abetting a crime! And what about the father who ripped up Hall’s note, saying he didn’t want to disturb his family. Multiple parents fell down on the job here.

  10. yahmule - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    My primary memory of Mel Hall was that he was a hot dog who ran into a lot of outs with a bunch of batting gloves hanging out of his back pockets.

    The comments I’m reading here about the story already have my blood boiling. I’m sure I’ll regret clicking on that link.

    • indaburg - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      I haven’t read the story either yet, and I’m afraid to. I don’t think I can read the story without feeling a very ugly anger.

      • ejheim62 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        yeah, it was tough to read through.

  11. doctorofsmuganomics - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    made it past chapter one.

    I feel dirty

  12. auggie1955 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    I read the whole article last night on SB Nation. It was great reading. It really was unbelievable the parents of the first girl moved out of their bedroom for Hall and their daughter. Hall didn’t stop there. He went on to coach girls basketball and baseball teams so that his contact and sexual abuse of young girls continued. Now his ass is in jail where it belongs. He is not eligible for parole until he is like 71 yrs old. Just let his ass rot in jail till he dies.

  13. hojo20 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    Great parenting skills on display. Bunch of morons. Yeah open up the bedroom door and an old guy is on the bed talking with your 15 year old daughter and you consider it okay.

  14. perryt200 - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    I only want to comment on just one part of the last sentence.

    “couldn’t have done what he did nearly as easily if he had not been a professional athlete and if professional athletes were not treated the way they are treated in our society.”

    The problem is that also goes for all the charitable things that happen from baseball too. All the way from the Foundations set up to the donated tickets on a silent auction table at some American Legion in the middle of Hicksville.

    Hall most likely would have still been a monster without baseball. IMHO baseball also does a lot of good back to the community.

  15. wonkypenguin - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    As a survivor of a predatory abuser, that’s a tough read. As a reader, that is fantastic journalism.

  16. yahmule - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    According to this article, Mel Hall was close friends with Deion Sanders. Another prince of a human being.

    http://deadspin.com/deion-sanderss-disaster-of-a-school-is-being-shut-down-1605904038

  17. baddogjosie - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Wow! Sociopath. I’m glad some adults FINALLY started paying attention. I find it very unnerving that the Yankees allowed that photo to be published in their yearbook.

  18. bigmeechy74 - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    It’s a long read but well worth it

  19. thenaturalmevs - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    The David Meggett of MLB.

  20. randygnyc - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    When I started as a young real estate broker in NYC in the late 80’s, Hall was a client of mine. I found him a luxury 1 bed rental for him and it turned out that it was for a young mistress. Yes, she was of legal age. She was a beautiful, mid western blonde. Anyway, a few months later, this girl calls me and tells me Mel stopped paying for her rent. All the while, he lived in a beautiful building (Central Park place) where both Al Pacino and Mike Tyson lived. Wild days.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      To anyone who reads this comment: Randy’s a long time contributor, and you can believe this very NYC type story. Randy: Hall sounds consistent in his lowlife nature.

  21. kevjones75 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    I believe the trade was Mel Hall and Joe Carter for Rick Sutcliffe in 1984.

  22. tedwmoore - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    The more I think about this the worse I think the Yankees look, to the point where I am surprised no litigation resulted from this (caveat, I have not yet read to the end, and this might have been addressed in the article).

    Hall might not have been acting as a Yankee, but the line is blurry here, as he clearly used his status as an employee, as well as the trappings of Yankee stadium, to ingratiate himself with the family, and he did so publicly. But instead of intervening to prevent what certainly must have appeared as potentially criminal behavior, the club looked the other way as he cavorted with a 15-year-old, and then they used that prom picture in their presser. Gross. And negligent. I can imagine situations where a ballplayer might attend a fan’s prom as a publicity event, but in that situation I imagine that the player’s entire relationship with the teenager is carefully managed by the press office, in part to avoid situations similar to this. Sure, the Yankees can claim that the parents’ presence eased their conscience, but if anyone should be aware of the corrupting influence of money and fame on personal morals, it should be the owners and managers of a professional athletic team.

    A lot of people failed Ms Diaz in this story, and I don’t mean to use the Yankees here as any sort of excuse for her parents’ actions, but the Yankees deserve no small measure of criticism for their own complicity here.

    • yahmule - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      You make some very good points.

  23. hushbrother - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Pretty disgusting, except for the part about hazing Bernie Williams. As a Red Sox fan, I wish Hall had kept that up. Indeed, I don’t think he hazed him enough. I wish he had hazed him some more, and hazed Jeter and Rivera as well, to the point where they all quit the game.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      I see what you’re trying to do.

  24. scoobies05 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    good god almighty. this is beyond disturbing. i dont even know what to say

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