May 23, 2004
As Brian Hall sits in the Sunken Diamond clubhouse on a comfortable May afternoon, he reflects on his Cardinal career. With Hall, Stanford's senior rightfielder, is his good friend Drew Ehrlich, a senior reliever for the Cardinal. Hall smiles as Ehrlich, a talented guitar player, launches into a rousing rendition of a popular rock song. As Hall sings along, he thinks about the many good times he and Ehrlich, his roommate of three years, have had over their Cardinal careers. As Hall's college career draws to a close, he appreciates the many wonderful opportunities he has had at Stanford.
'Playing at Stanford has been an incredible opportunity,' Hall says. 'I've been blessed in the way that I've played with such great people on and off the field. Playing for such a great program has been an added bonus to the experience of coming to such an amazing school academically. Playing at Stanford has been an amazing opportunity.'
Playing at Stanford for four years is something that is especially important to Hall. An athlete's senior season is often looked back on as a treasured memory. Hall and Ehrlich, along with Jonny Ash, Sam Fuld, and David O'Hagan, have formed a special bond over their four years at Stanford.
'It means a lot that all five of us have stayed for four years,' Hall explains. 'The five of us have become close friends. We have matured, grown, and developed together. This year is our time to lead. All of us are trying to have our best year and lead by example.'
Lead by example he has. Hall is currently hitting .356 with nine homers, 50 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. Earlier this season, Hall received many honors recognizing his astounding accomplishments. He had a monster week (April 29 through May 2) and was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, College Baseball Insider.com West Regional Player of the Week, NCBWA Co-Hitter of the Week, and Pac-10 Player of the Week after hitting .688 (11-16) with a double, two homers, 10 RBI, seven runs scored and a 1.125 slugging percentage.
Even though Hall has been enjoying enormous individual success, he identifies a team achievement as the largest source of his satisfaction this season.
'The team's record is definitely something I am very proud of,' Hall says. 'This team is off to the second best start in school history. We are winning so much. It's amazing to have that kind of success.'
While Hall has enjoyed being a large part of the success of the team, he acknowledges the personal benefits he has received over his time at Stanford.
'I've definitely matured and become a more complete baseball player. I'm a better hitter and a better all-around player,' Hall conveys. 'Personally being from a small town and coming to Stanford has really opened my eyes. I've broadened my horizons and become a more complete person.'
Hall, who is from Carlsbad, New Mexico, played baseball all the time growing up. His childhood pastime has turned out to be his lifelong passion.
'I started playing baseball when I was three years old,' Hall remembers. 'My brother was in T-Ball and I just wanted to play too. I just developed over the years. Baseball has always been my sport. It's been a lifelong dream of mine to play professionally.'
Hall has certainly made large steps towards making his dream into a reality. He has been a consistent all-around player throughout his Cardinal career, making starts in right field, center field, left field, third base, first base, and designated hitter. Hall is also Stanford's active career leader in stolen bases (50), sacrifice bunts (19), and sacrifice flies (15). Hall has been an important five-tool player over his college career. Stanford head coach Mark Marquess recognizes the important contributions Hall has made.
'Brian Hall has been a great player for us throughout his career at Stanford,' said Marquess. 'He has great leadership abilities and is also one of the most versatile players I have ever coached.'
Hall has had many great moments over his time with Stanford. One of the most memorable successes came at the end of his freshman year. The team was playing in the College World Series against Cal State Fullerton. Hall, making his first postseason start, hit a home run that helped lift Stanford over Cal State Fullerton and into the College World Series championship game.
'It was an amazing feeling and a dream come true,' Hall reminisces. 'I'd always wanted to play college baseball and play in the College World Series. It was just amazing.'
While Hall has had some great achievements over his playing career, he recognizes that these achievements have not been made alone. Hall has had his family and friends standing behind him. Hall's parents, David and Peggy, have been committed to their son's success every step of the way.
'My parents have always been there for me,' Hall acknowledges with sincerity. 'They have pushed me to be the best that I can be. They've both given up a lot for me so I can pursue baseball. I can't thank them enough for what they have done for me.'
Hall's older brother, Chris, has also been a major influence on his life.
'Chris has been a role model and a great friend,' Hall appreciates. 'He has always been a person I could go to when I'm struggling. He has helped me through a lot. It was kind of his role as an older brother but he did it flawlessly.'
As Hall talks about the importance of his family to him, he looks over at Ehrlich, who is quietly strumming his guitar in the background. Hall recognizes the importance of having good friends who encourage him to be his best.
'Drew has been important to me as well,' Hall reveals. 'We're great friends. He and I have always been there for each other.'
Ehrlich, who is noticeably touched by his friend's words, continues to play his guitar as Hall looks into the future.
'I want to play Major League Baseball for as long as I possibly can,' Hall says. 'It's been a dream of mine ever since I was a little kid and I'm going to chase that dream until they tell me to stop.'
Hall is understandably excited about his promising future. For right now though, he sits back and looks out at the Sunken Diamond baseball field. Hall smiles contentedly and looks over at Ehrlich. Their eyes meet and they both grin. Ehrlich embarks on a rousing rendition of Jet's 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl'.
'One, Two, Three, Take my hand and come with me ....' the two friends sing.
Judging from his talent and past career, Hall will have the opportunity to come a long way in the future. Let the good times roll.
by Janelle Kwietkauski