Toby Hall’s (Surprise) Retirement Party

It was suppose to be a pairing party in advance of the 2012 Toby Hall and Friends Celebrity Golf Classic. It was suppose to be one of those meet and greet opportunities for the duffers to meet other members of their foursome, and also celebrate another awesome tournament. That was the plan Toby Hall had in his mind before he entered the Courtside Grille last night.

Instead it became an impromptu Retirement Party complete with the obligatory pine wooden rocking chair that party invitees were asked to sign and give their well wishes to Hall as he embarks on other adventures in his post MLB life like watching his kids grow up, and devote more time to his charity and other worthwhile endeavors. It was an event I did not want to miss.

There were people coming out of the proverbial woodwork for this honor like former Rays owner Vince Namoli who looked very relaxed and had even lost a few pounds. Former Rays Pitching Coach Chuck Hernandez came to the event as well as former Rays Bullpen Coach Glenn Ezell and current Bullpen Catcher/Enforcer Scott Cursi. The showing of support from former players on a night usually reserved for the menial task of assigning pairings was a complete success.

 In the crowd was also former Rays OF Randy Winn, Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher/ Rays Bat boy Jesse Litsch, hurler Boof Bonser and Tampa Bay Bucs Defensive Back Ronde Barber. On the screens around the bar played a photo montage of Hall’s days both at Triple-A Durham, Tampa Bay and his stint with the White Sox. Food was plentiful, drinks were flowing and the room held a great vibe of well wishes and a few well placed cards and present for Hall and his family.

As the pairing were being announced, it was immediately noticeable that this season’s tournament had a few extra Rays names being bellowed out like P David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, SS Reid Brignac, CF B J Upton, RF Matt Joyce along with Rays farm Coach Ozzie Timmons, Jason Michaels and the always entertaining Gregg Zaun. Former Rays RP Trever Miller, Dan Wheeler Andy Sonnanstine, Rays Coaches Tom Foley and George Hendricks plus that strapping young lad, FSN Florida/Rays traveling ambassador of good times Todd Kalas. The event seems to have exploded this season with the addition of several Rays player who will be first time attendees this year. The show of great support for Hall and his main charity, the Miracle League should make this the best tournament turnout and fundraising in the Toby Hall Foundation’s history.

It was a great time to show our admiration and respect for a player who gave his all for the Rays, and is still considered the best to ever squat behind the plate. Hall may be leaving the game a bit earlier than he expected, or wanted, but his foundation, his children and his wife will be more devoted attention. If Hall takes to his retirement that way he called games and hit at the plate, then he will again be hitting for the fences. Go get ‘em Toby!

8 Comments

Good luck Toby!

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I forgave Toby for this comment a long time ago. That season’s team did not have the drive and talent that finally matured a few seasons after his departure. It was a barrage of comments made at a time when he was bewildered, frustrated and felt slighted by a franchise that he has played with since his first initial signature was wet on a contract. We have all made comments when things go sour or are spinning out of our control, and I felt upset and a bit bewildered myself when they first surfaced. But after reflecting a bit I understood their birthplace and knew they were comments he wished he could of taken back. I do not condemn a person for their first mistakes because if I did, I might not have any close friends…around baseball or beyond. I respect the point of view you are throwing out, but we will have to agree to disagree with this one.

Thanks Cat.
I saw Toby tonight almost brought to tears as he announced a new charity group to the crowd at the classic’s awards dinner. Baseball Buddies as well as The Miracle League now have special places in Hall’s heart and actions, and I could hear the passion and drive in his voice tonight as he spoke of these special baseball-related organizations. I have a special place for those who give back after they have achieved themselves. Toby does that, and he knows I have his back because of it…bar none.

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Bleacher Boy,
Definitely going to head on over and check out the blog today. Thanks for stopping by, and come back any time. Blogging can be a great adventure not only writing about things you like yourself, but viewing other sides of the coin and possibly being inspired to do more or write something yourself. Looking forward to seeing someone elses take on this great game.

Best wishes Toby. Even LA will miss you…well, at least one fan! ~Your #1 fan in LA

Misty,
I know he will miss the interaction and personal time with the fans too. He spent most of his career in Tampa Bay, but his times in Los Angeles, Houston and even his Chi-town moments will be remembered for a long, long time. I’m glad you send that message, and I want to let you know Hall is busy with his new found baseball charity, the Baseball Buddies, plus doing his part with the Miracle League. It is so great seeing these guys giving back and helping others learn about the love, respect and fun that surrounds this great game.

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