Hall goes to bat against breast cancer
Outfielder gave $25,000 to cause that is close to his heart
MILWAUKEE -- While the final details of Bill Hall's first big contract were being ironed out, the 27-year-old Brewer considered starting his own charitable foundation. But the more he mulled, it made just as much sense to contribute to one already close to his heart.
Hall donated $25,000 on Monday to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Brewers announced a special Pink Bat Ticket Package for the new Club on the Club at Miller Park. Only 125 of the $222 packages are available, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Komen Foundation.
Hall was one of many Major Leaguers who used pink bats on Mother's Day last season as part of Major League Baseball's efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer. But Hall gained nationwide -- and worldwide, he says -- attention when he hit a game-winning, 10th-inning home run with the bat to beat the Mets. His mom, Vergie, was in the stands that day at Miller Park.
"If it wasn't the biggest moment in my career, it was one of them," Hall said.
At the time, he didn't realize the impact it had on others.
"I knew it was a big home run with my mom in the stands, but little did I know that it would mean a lot more for a whole lot of people," Hall said. "The notes and letters I received from hitting that home run, I knew I raised a lot of people's spirits.
"If I could do that just hitting a home run, I knew there was a lot more I could do."
Several weeks after his dramatic homer, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio spent more than $25,000 to buy the pink bat at auction on MLB.com, and presented it as a gift to Vergie Hall. The money went to the Komen Foundation.
The Dallas-based Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1982 and raises funds for breast cancer research and treatment.
"I got a lot of letters, and I read them all," said Hall, who thankfully has not had breast cancer affect a loved one. "It was an inspiration to know that the people watching on TV got a lift when they saw that home run."
The Pink Bat Ticket Package goes on sale Tuesday and includes an authentic, autographed pink bat from Hall along with two tickets to The Club on the Club for the Sunday, June 3 game against the Marlins. The tickets include complimentary food and beverage. For information call (414) 902-HITS.
Hall's other community initiatives include MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, which encourages youngsters to participate in baseball and softball. He is also a supporter of the Brewers' S.C.O.R.E. program, which includes visits to local schools. He was honored last year with the Brewers' Michael Harrison Award for community service.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and his wife, Ellen, are also helping the cause. Ellen's mother, Elsie Schultz, died of breast cancer 16 years ago, and last year Ellen raised more than $11,000 at a fundraiser with family and friends at Miller Park. She is planning a similar private event for September.
"My mom might have been OK had she been detected earlier," Melvin said. "But by the time she found out it was too late."
The Komen Foundation will host its annual "Race for the Cure" in Milwaukee on Sept. 23. Bill and Vergie Hall will serve as honorary co-chairs for the event, and the Melvins will be the grand marshals of the race. Registration information will be released in early June.
Brewers executive vice president Rick Schlesinger said the team hopes to raise $50,000 for the foundation through its various initiatives.
Fans looking to make a donation to the Komen Foundation can visit www.komenmilwaukee.org and click on the Brewers link.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.