No. 36: Jimmie Hall (14.8 WAR)
Sometimes, in baseball, you have players who start their careers red hot. Some of them stay that way, and others suddenly drop off. The latter was the case with Jimmie Hall. Hall was a big time talent in his first few years in the majors, and his most productive years were with the Twins.
Hall hit 20 or more home runs in each of his first four seasons, including 33 his rookie season in 1963. He was part of the magical 1965 team that won the pennant and had many stars, with Hall being one of them. That season, he even received MVP votes.
Before his decline, Hall was a two-time All-Star. He posted WAR numbers of 5.4, 4.3 and 4.0 in each of his first three seasons. He was a young star with a bright future at Metropolitan Stadium. Unfortunately, he would never be the same after being hit by a pitch in 1964.
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Never the same.
On May 27th of that year, Hall was struck in the face by a pitch from Bo Belinksy, a hard-throwing lefty. He wore a protective flap on his helmet after that. While he would produce a little afterward, he was never the same. His hitting against left-handed pitching was already questionable, and after getting hit in the face he couldn’t produce at the same level again.
After the Twins traded him to the Angels before the 1967 season, Hall would only hit double digit home runs one more time. He would be out of baseball by 1970. While his future was bright, he couldn’t produce at the same level after the incident.
Even though his career in Minnesota was short, Hall played incredibly for those years. He was a young star on a great team and that showed his value. Unfortunately, his career wouldn’t continue like that for very long.