The many crimes of baseball's Mel Hall
July 18, 2014 8:59 PM   Subscribe

"What was his weapon? Trust. Over and over again, he shook the hand of a parent and said, 'It's OK. I'll take care of them. I'll make her a better person.' Instead what he did was rob them of their innocence and change the scope of their lives."

SB Nation on Mel Hall - "a flamboyant baseball player, a charismatic coach, and a sexual predator."
posted by porn in the woods (15 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, oh my God, what the hell: When ANY guy, adult or not, famous or not, calls your teenaged daughter 8 times in two hours, your creep alarms should be going off like WHOA. When it turns out to be a famous ballplayer with a major reputation for womanizing, the appropriate response is not to be "ecstatic" or to send him with her to her high-school prom but to call the damn cops. And the appropriate response from his teammates, coaches, and their wives and girlfriends, when he starts showing up with a FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD as a date to games is not to JOKE HE PICKED HER UP AT TOYS R US. It is to CALL THE DAMN COPS.

I had to double-check the date on the beginning of the story. 1989. Jesus. There are so many enablers in Jennifer's story, from the team chaplain who was "praying" she would get out of the relationship to Donald fucking Trump.

It's terrifying he got away with being so blatant, with so many girls, for so long.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:42 PM on July 18, 2014 [31 favorites]

I second Eyebrows McGee. Good lord, this guy for away with it for so long. Snowing so many parents. Wtf?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:23 PM on July 18, 2014

There are some people who should never become parents. I mean, there's gullible, and then there's quitting your job and letting a grown man sleep in the same bed as your 15 year old daughter while he supports you.

The only difference between them and pimps is the headgear.
posted by Dynex at 10:50 PM on July 18, 2014 [13 favorites]

People never want to think that their particular Golden Boy (or Girl) has feet of clay.

So either they go right along with what's going on and somehow justify their involvement to themselves, or they just straight up lie to themselves about what's happening under their noses because "S/he isn't like that."

Predatory behaviour is only performed by obviously Bad Guys twirling their handlebar moustaches. It's how you recognize them. Of course it's never a favourite baseball player, or that nice coach, or this author or that painter or whatever.

So many sickening lies we tell ourselves every day that allow victimization to occur.

As far as I'm concerned, letting a grown man or woman sleep in the same bed as your underaged child is evidence that you are no longer fit to be a parent. I don't mean to deny sexual agency to teenagers, but that agency really does need to come slowly and age-appropriately because of the damage that can be caused. Plus it seems like the 'quit job, let man sleep in bed with my daughter' is a straight up "I'm selling my daughter's body for an easier life."

So, so disgusting on so many levels.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:37 PM on July 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Kudos to writer Greg Hanlon. Impressive reporting on what must have been an incredibly difficult story to pursue and write.

Seems like parents (and their daughters!) nowadays should look askance at any man who so devotes himself to coaching girls' sports teams. #notallcoaches
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:58 AM on July 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

And, just, bleahh. Yuck.
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:59 AM on July 19, 2014

More from Hanlon, also about a pro athlete's sexual predation: The Sordid End of David Meggett.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:08 AM on July 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am glad to hear this predator is finally in jail but it made me angry to hear just how many times he was able to victimize people. I actually had to put down the smartphone at times to contain my disgust. I thought the article would just be about Jennifer's story and the resulting trial and prosecution but it happened over and over to other young girls. It's appalling.

And it didn't even occur to me while reading the article, but after reading the comments here, yeah, Jennifer's parents were probably a lot less clueless than extremely selfish. Some people should just not be parents is right. Too many people in this world think of their children as property instead of people. Disgusting.
posted by sevenofspades at 8:42 AM on July 19, 2014

Sounds like quite the psychopath.
posted by sour cream at 9:15 AM on July 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Good reporting and writing, but that was rather upsetting. Wow. I did have to get up and stop reading between chapters.

And yeah, I do feel for Jennifer and how many people just let all of that happen, even when they clearly knew what was going on. Even if it was "legal" at one point, a grown man's interest in a teenage girl should almost always be questioned.

I am proud of those girls (now women) who were brave enough to come forward.

As terrible as these sorts of things are, I'm glad they're coming out more and more (I'm also thinking of the BBC sexual abuse cases). It's not something that can be dismissed and I hope attention to these stories gives children and teenagers now the strength to say something if it's happening to them.
posted by darksong at 10:24 AM on July 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is "muck farming" growing crops in muck or is it harvesting the muck itself (such as for elsewhere crop-growing purposes)? Wikipedia is not entirely clear on the point.
posted by batfish at 4:51 PM on July 19, 2014

What is it with people willing to sacrifice to the god of sports?

People are so willing to turn a blind eye to the high jinks of anybody with a bit of fame. He can't be a predator, he's faaaaamous.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:01 PM on July 19, 2014

batfish, muck farming appears to mean growing crops in muck after clearing low swampy land.
posted by GrammarMoses at 8:12 PM on July 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I also had the "wait, that was just chapter 1? of… how many? oh shit" reaction.

Although, as a woman born in 1970, I'm not entirely surprised that so many people chose to overlook this. I can't find the reference, but somebody of about my age described the '70s as "open season on girls" (Pretty Baby/"nothing comes between me and my Calvin's"/Roman Polanski/etc. etc. etc.) and that kind of thing doesn't fall away quickly.
posted by Lexica at 9:38 PM on July 19, 2014

Also, her family's finances depended on Hall, which meant that keeping the peace with him became her responsibility.

What kills me about Jennifer's story in particular is the way Hall just seemed to fall into things, looking for an in and inserting himself into her family until the above seemed... normal. Of course, that's not what happened; so many people failed Jennifer, starting with her parents. It seems obvious that they knew exactly what was going on, and it is completely fucked that they didn't mind letting a grown man sleep with their child for some financial safety. These people are not fit to be parents.
posted by supermassive at 10:07 PM on July 19, 2014

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