Frazier Hall put baseball dream on hold to help his older brother chase another dream
Like any other kid who picked up a baseball or a glove when he had barely mastered the art of walking, Frazier Hall had a full set of dreams lying in front of him.
Those aspirations grew and developed clarity as he got older and realized there was a bright future ahead on the diamond.
But when his older brother encountered a life-altering hurdle several years ago, Hall did something unlike a lot of those same youngsters whose dreams have taken flight.
He put his ambitions on hold to make sure Ben Hall had every chance to chase his.
Frazier Hall is a senior at Southern University and one of 10 finalists for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
When Ben was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Frazier was right there by his big brother’s side.
The tumor turned out to be was benign, but removing it also meant Ben lost much of his short-term memory bank. An aspiring quarterback at Christian Life School in Baton Rouge, La., Ben was physically fine but had to relearn much of his vocabulary – not to mention a detailed, intricate playbook.
So Frazier put his dreams on the backburner, took his sophomore baseball season off and spent every waking hour he could helping Ben get his dream back.
“Our parents have always impressed on us to do something to help other people and that’s always felt really natural for me,” Frazier Hall said.
“My brother was a great athlete and then all of a sudden he was told he would never be able to walk or function again and would have to be in a wheelchair rest of his life. He wouldn’t accept it and I wouldn’t accept it.”
So every day, sometimes several times a day, the Halls went to work. Frazier, younger brother Tommy and sometimes even baby sister Avery would go to the practice field with Ben. They’d be his receiver, his center, his coach, his fan … whatever he needed to navigate the arduous road to recovery.
“After watching how hard he had to work, what would I ever have to complain about?” Frazier Hall said. “To see him overcome all the odds has been a huge inspiration for me.”
Ben Hall got back on the field for Christian Life before injuries cut his senior season short. He showed enough to get a scholarship at Belhaven College in Mississippi and split his college career between there and Southeastern Louisiana before a torn rotator cuff ended his playing days.
Now 25, Ben Hall is an assistant football coach at St. Michael the Archangel High in Baton Rouge.
And Frazier’s dream is back on track.
The senior first baseman is having the best season of his career and has the Jaguars poised for a return to the NCAA Tournament after a three-year absence. During the regular season, he led Southern with a .423 batting average, 47 runs, 15 doubles, nine home runs and 58 RBIs.
Off the field, Hall has been instrumental as the heart and soul of a team longtime Southern coach Roger Cador said has tremendous chemistry. Hall formed a student Christian organization when he was a freshman and has been a team leader in community service throughout his career.
“He’s always the first one to take the lead to go out and do something for the less fortunate,” Cador said. “He’s always thinking about others before himself and the other kids see that and are influenced. He’s a very inspirational person. No matter how negative things are, he always has something positive to say.”
That dream? Alive and well.
As Hall has thrived on the diamond, earning SWAC Player of the Year honors as a junior followed by this season, professional scouts have popped up occasionally at Southern, which is dwarfed in its home town by traditional power LSU.
“That’s absolutely been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I’ve wanted to play professional baseball as long as I can remember,” Hall said. “I’ve had a good season and in four years, I’ve learned the game at the college level and how you need to play game. It’s a lot bigger than just natural ability.”
A positive side effect of Hall playing for Cador at Southern is also prominent.
Mainly because Hall played at a small prep program, only a handful of major programs paid attention. When a scholarship from the University of New Orleans was left in limbo by a coaching change, Hall didn’t have a baseball home as his senior year wound down.
In stepped Cador and assistant Fernando Puebla, but there was a twist.
Southern is one of the country’s oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Hall is white. The Jaguars’ current roster features several whites, Hispanics and blacks – fulfilling Cador’s goal to make his program more reflective of society and Major League Baseball.
“Honestly, I feel like I was led there by the Lord,” Hall said. “I had other scholarship offers. “Coach Cador met with me and my parents a couple of days later and they basically made the decision for me. We all saw something in Coach Cador and black, white, blue or orange, it didn’t matter to me because I wanted to play for the man.
“One thing I’ll take away is that coming to college isn’t just about playing baseball. With Coach Cador, it’s also about refining our character as men and preparing us for the rest of our lives off the field.”
As much as Cador might deserve credit for that, Hall had a pretty good head start in the character department, punctuated by his understanding how important dreams can be – yours and everybody else’s.