TORONTO – Adam Hall’s young career has had no shortage of highlights, racking up numerous accolades, travelling around the world to play on a variety of incredible stages, and playing under some of the best minds Canadian baseball has to offer.
In his four years with the Great Lake Canadians program, the 17-year-old has had the consistent guidance and tutelage of former major league players Adam Stern, Chris Robinson, and Jamie Romak, along with a number of others with years of pro experience.
Joining the Canadian Junior National Team at 15 years old, he’s been coached by national squad guru Greg Hamilton for a countless number of games, and among others has even had the privilege of gaining infield instruction from Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, national team hero Pete Orr, and 2006 American League MVP Justin Morneau.
“You get to hopefully pass on what we’ve learned and what it means to be a Canadian baseball player, and what it means to put the uniform on for Canada,” Morneau said. “…You remember being in that position and being one of the young guys on the team and coming in and seeing guys that you looked up to and guys that you watched on TV.”
On Saturday night in Toronto, on hand to receive the Canadian Futures Award at Baseball Canada’s National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser, Hall was one of those players, adding some even more memorable moments to his list.
“Watching guys play on TV and seeing them a lot and looking up to them, it’s pretty cool when you see them there, let alone when they come and talk to you,” the Bermuda-born native of London, Ont., said of the event. “Russ [Martin] came and talked to a bunch of the Junior National Team guys while we were standing around a couple times, so that was pretty cool seeing him.
“Then actually on my way out, when I was going to the elevator, Joey Votto came up to me by himself and congratulated me on the award, so that was pretty cool. He’s a pretty phenomenal player so that was pretty special.”
Hall became the fourth winner of the Canadian Futures Award and first representative of the Great Lake Canadians program to win. The accolade was previously presented to Andrew Yerzy – selected in the second round by the Diamondbacks, 52nd overall, in the 2016 draft – Josh Naylor – taken in the first round, 12th overall, by the Marlins in 2015 – and Gareth Morgan – chosen by the Mariners in the second round, 74th overall, in 2014 – graduates of the Toronto Mets and Ontario Blue Jays programs now participating in the Canadian Premier Baseball League.
“It’s a big honour to get the award, especially looking at some of the guys who have gotten it before me,” Hall said. “It kind of says that you’re doing the right thing.”
Looking forward to continuing his successful run with Team Canada and Great Lake as he heads into the final five months before the draft, the Texas A & M Aggies commit is eager to get the season started. For the first time in his three years with both squads, their spring trips down south don’t overlap, offering Hall a chance to spend more time with his teammates, and out on the field.
“I’m pretty pumped to get back into things already,” he said. “The off-season felt like it’s been too long. It will be nice getting to go down to Florida with Great Lake, for only the second time actually. I got to go my first year and last year now with Great Lake, so it’s kind of a closing thing with them as well. It will be fun to be able to go and spend almost a full month in Florida and then keep things going for the draft.”
Heading into his final tour as a member of the Junior National Team, the middle infielder is hoping to leave as much of a mark on the program as it has left on him.
“I’m just continuing to play with Team Canada and contribute to that program as much as I can,” Hall said. “I want to try and give back for all they’ve given me so far. I’ve still got a couple trips left, and hopefully I’ll be there in Thunder Bay to go to another world championship [this September, after participating at the 18U Baseball World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan in 2015], and this time in Canada. It would be pretty special to do that, and then to sum everything up, hopefully win it all there.”
Excited about what lies ahead, the year couldn’t have started better for Hall than the way it did Saturday night, honoured by the family he joined when he first suited up in the red-and-white jersey, one that along with his Great Lake family, he will cherish forever.
“When Paul Quantrill was up on stage [honoured as Baseball Canada’s ninth inductee on the Wall of Excellence], he summed up in his speech what I think Baseball Canada really is,” Hall said. “He was talking about how you don’t necessarily remember the games you play – I mean, obviously there will be certain games that you remember – but he talked about how you remember the people you played with, the people you met, how close you were with them, and just how the family comes together that is Baseball Canada. The experiences will last a lifetime and you’re a part of the family forever.”