On this day in 1979, Bill Hall was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was 18 when the Brewers drafted him out of high school in the sixth round in 1998, and made his pro debut that same season. He was a big leaguer for the first time as a 22 year old in 2002, and cracked the lineup on a full time basis for the first time in 2004.
Hall played over 800 games as a Brewer, and his defensive versatility was his biggest strength over that time. He was almost exclusively a shortstop in the minors but played most of his games as a second baseman in 2004, as a center fielder in 2007 and as a third baseman in 2008 and 2009.
Hall's best season was easily 2006, when he appeared in 148 games and hit 35 home runs, posting a .270/.345/.553 line. Unfortunately the Brewers bought high after that season and signed Hall to a four year, $24 million contract that looked terrible when Hall hit just .233/.297/.397 over the next three years. The Brewers were forced to eat most of Hall's remaining salary when they traded him to the Mariners in 2009.
The Brewers selected 50 players in the 1998 draft, but Hall was one of just two to reach the majors:
Hall turns 32 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to Madison native Zane Smith, who turns 51. Smith played 13 major league seasons between 1984-96 as a member of the Pirates, Braves and two other teams.