Marc Hall’s story with the Tigers is marked by a record and a tragedy.
On July 5, 1914, Hall established a team record that likely will never be broken. He pitched 13 innings in relief against the St. Louis Browns in Navin Field in Detroit. It is a record that has been approached but not broken in more than 100 years.
Tragically, he was dead less than eight months later.
Hall appeared in just six games after his 13-inning relief effort before his season was ended when he was diagnosed with diabetes. It was determined his season was over with a 2.69 ERA.
The Tigers released him that summer, but Hall was determined to make it back to the game. He reported to the Tigers’ spring camp in Gulfport, Miss., even though he was no longer with the team. Hall knew he wasn’t in shape to make a major-league roster, but he hoped to show enough to land in the minors, according to The Sporting News.
Hall became ill again in the spring and returned to his home in Joplin, Mo., where he died on February 24, 1915, at the age of 27.
Hall came to the Tigers in 1913 with much promise after two fine seasons with the Omaha Rourkes of the Class A Western League. His short major-league resume wasn’t as promising. He began his professional career in 1909 at age 21. The following season, he joined his hometown ballclub, the Joplin Miners of the Class C Western Association, and posted a 21-9 record for a combined 41-21 mark in two seasons in that league. It earned him a spot with the St. Louis Browns that season.
Hall’s debut season was less than stellar. He was 1-7 with a 4.27 ERA. He walked 31 batter in 46 and one-third innings, leading to an unsightly 1.748 WHIP, and he returned to the minors for the 1911 season. He spent two seasons with the Rourkes. After going 17-17 in 1911, Hall broke through with a 25-9 mark in 1912, setting the stage for him to join Detroit in 1913.
Hall made his Tigers debut in the second game of the season. He allowed one hit in two scoreless relief innings against the Browns, his former team, earning a start six days later at home, again against the Browns. Hall went the distance, allowing three runs (two earned) as Detroit edged St. Louis 4-3.
It was the beginning of a fine year for Hall, who rotated between the rotation and the bullpen but made more starts than relief appearances. He finished 10-12 with a 3.27 ERA in 30 games (21 starts). His control was somewhat improved as he walked 79 in 165 innings – not great but much better than in 1910.
Hall’s 1913 highlight came on June 1, when he tossed a four-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago. He also collected a hit in the game. The following month, Hall struck out 10 batters in a game against the Washington Senators at Navin Field in Detroit.
Hall’s season came to an end when he broke a foot fielding a bunt in the middle of August and missed the rest of the season. With a decent rookie season under his belt, Hall came to camp in 1914 with a lot of promise. The Tigers kept him in the bullpen for the most part as he made just eight starts in 25 games. He improved his control for the second year in a row, walking just 27 in 90 and one-third innings.
He entered the franchise record book on July 5, 1914, when he pitched 13 innings in relief against the Cleveland Indians at Navin Field in Detroit.
“He is proving to be the right man for Manager Jennings to send in to finish games and to use when he hasn’t one of his other regular men available,” The Sporting News reported in its July 23, 1914, edition. “Hall is likely to stick with the club for a long time as just that sort of pitcher. He hasn’t enough stuff to become a star, but he is a steady plugger.”
Unfortunately, Hall never got the chance.
“D” TALES: In early July of 1914, the Tigers had back-to-back doubleheaders and were forced to use Marc Hall for a total of 17 and two-third innings in two days.
In the first game of a Fourth of July doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians at Navin Field, Hall relieved starter Jean Dubuc in the fourth inning and tossed four and two-third innings in Detroit’s 10-8 loss. Hall allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits with three walks and no strikeouts.
The next day, the St. Louis Browns were in Detroit for a doubleheader. Starter George Boehler lasted one inning before Hall entered the game with Detroit trailing 3-2. Hall pitched 13 innings and gave up three earned runs on 13 hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The Browns scored in the top of the 14th inning and won 6-5. Hall was tagged with the loss.
Just eight pitchers have thrown more than 13 relief innings since 1913, and the record belongs to Cubs pitcher Zip Zabel, who pitched 18 and one-third innings on June 17, 1915, at West Side Grounds in Chicago.