LANGHORNE — The morning after a moonshot off the bat of Darick Hall cleared the center-field batter’s eye at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies rookie posed for photos with fans and signed dozens of autographs.
It’s all part of what’s been a whirlwind of a month for the 26-year-old. A career organizational player set to become a minor-league free agent at the end of the season, that all changed on June 23 when Hall was promoted to the big leagues for the first time. Selected to bolster a Philadelphia lineup in need of a left-handed bat without the injured Bryce Harper, “Long Ball Hall” quickly became a fan favorite with his displays of power like his 449-foot blast on Friday night in an otherwise ugly 15-2 loss to the Cubs.
As Hall prepared to begin a public autograph signing at Dynasty Sports in the Oxford Valley Mall on Saturday morning, he had the chance to reflect on the way he’s been embraced.
“It’s felt great,” Hall told Phillies Nation. “Even my first at-bat, all the cheers, it’s been overwhelming. And they kept that going even though I didn’t get a hit. It’s been a very warm welcome.”
A 14th-round pick in 2016, Hall finally got his first major-league opportunity this year after mashing 20 home runs in 72 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. But even as a homegrown talent, he was unsure of what his reception would be.
“I had no idea what to expect when they brought me up,” he said. “With Harper being out, you don’t know what to expect — whether they see you as somebody they like or not. But they came up and gave me a warm welcome. Everybody — the clubhouse, the staff, the fans — has been very nice.”
Despite the uncertainty, many fans were happy to see Hall in the majors upon his call-up. One Phillies fan who went to the signing on Saturday, Chris McCabe of Collegeville, said he had been hoping the slugger would get promoted “maybe a year or two ago.”
McCabe had first met Hall on Labor Day weekend in 2017 and has been following his career since. He was on a trip to Clearwater, watching the Threshers play when Hall, recently promoted to High-A at the time, broke his bat and handed it to McCabe after the game.
With Hall now in the major leagues and making this appearance, McCabe took advantage and got the piece of lumber signed.
“I think it’s been great,” McCabe said of seeing Hall in the bigs. “Kind of like an underdog, that he’s played in the minors for about five years. It’s pretty cool to see the ovation he gets, and it seems like everyone’s sitting up in their seats when he’s up to bat, because he could hit a pretty good shot.”
Through 17 games, Hall has hit five home runs and posted an .894 OPS while being the Phillies’ primary DH against right-handed pitching. While enjoying some individual success and some fanfare has been great to experience, the best part to Hall has been helping the team win.
At 49-44 entering Saturday, the Phillies currently hold the third National League wild card spot with a tiebreaker over St. Louis. Cracking the postseason will not come easily, but it’s certainly a reasonable expectation with the aforementioned Harper along with infielder Jean Segura set to return to action in August.
Now into the second half of the season, Hall is ready to keep providing the power, hoping to close his rookie campaign with a Phillies playoff appearance for the first time since 2011.
“It’s been awesome,” Hall said. “I came and we were rolling, so to be able to come in and keep the ball rolling, win some big series is everything. Getting to the big league leagues is more than I ever could’ve imagined.”
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