This Brewer was a plumber before he was a pitcher

May 18th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Adam McCalvy’s Brewers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

HOUSTON -- It wasn’t a mere photo opportunity when Brewers left-hander DL Hall appeared at a Habitat for Humanity build in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood this week. It was a flashback to his own childhood, including time in the trades working alongside his grandfather and father.

Hall grew up in Valdosta, Ga., where grandfather Carlo Beam and father Stevie Hall both owned plumbing companies. DL worked for both of them right up until the Orioles drafted him in the first round in 2017.

So when the Brewers were looking for players to appear at this week’s Habitat for Humanity build -- one of 32 brand-new homes to be sold at affordable rates to first-time homebuyers -- Hall was a yes. Longtime Habitat for Humanity supporter Brandon Woodruff and his wife Jonie also appeared, along with rookie infielder Joey Ortiz.

Credit: Scott Paulus/Brewers

“I lived in, like, 15 different houses growing up, so I’m super, super connected to that cause,” Hall said. “It’s giving somebody a stable home, and it also is getting to do something that takes me back to working for my grandpa and my dad.

“From when I was 10 years old basically through high school, whenever I’d clear out of sports I went to go help my dad and my grandpa. My senior year, I’d get out at 11 o’clock and go work for my grandpa. So I went from the tool-getter at age 10 to, by the time I was done, being able to build whole bathrooms.”

Credit: Scott Paulus/Brewers

Bathrooms were his specialty and he took pride in the work. Hall knows the value of a stable place to live from his own experience growing up with parents -- his dad in plumbing and other trades, and his mother, Stacey Cooper, working as a teacher -- who worked hard to make ends meet. As Hall’s baseball career began to take off and tournament costs piled up, it was sometimes difficult.

When finances were tough, the family found itself in what Hall and his brother and sister called “the little house” near his grandparents’ place. Other times, they lived in mobile homes. There was one memorable year when the Halls lived in a spacious home with a pool.

“Sometimes I looked at other people and I thought, ‘Dang, I wish I had that one house I called home my whole life,’” Hall said. “You definitely crave that stability. But I was young, so I always looked at it as a new adventure.”

Credit: Scott Paulus/Brewers

Hall’s father lives in Jacksonville, Fla., now and is on the white collar side of the remodeling business. His mom lives in a home in Valdosta that Hall purchased after he was drafted.

That’s the story of Hall the plumber.

Now, a word on Hall the pitcher.

On the injured list with a sprained left knee, he’s ready to take the next step on Sunday when he begins a rehab assignment with a start for High-A Wisconsin. Eventually, the Brewers will face a decision. Last year, Hall was terrific as a high-octane Orioles reliever. This year as a starter, he struggled to find that same elite velocity.

Credit: Scott Paulus/Brewers

“We want to build him up,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said. “The knee needed to recover. The lower strength in the lower half needed to be built. Now he goes up to Appleton [Wis.] and let’s see it come out. Let’s see the DL Hall that we had in early Spring Training.

“If that happens, then we’ll send him back out for a two-inning outing, then we’ll send him back out for a three-inning outing. Then we’ll assess. Does he need to do the rest of it here [in the Majors]? [Corbin] Burnes, Woodruff, [Freddy] Peralta, they were all in the bullpen first. I’m not suggesting he will be. But to get him back in the Major Leagues, it may start that way and then work him into [a starting role]. I mean, long-term, what we want is a starting pitcher.”

To be determined.

“I think that’s the way it’ll go,” Murphy said. “Nothing’s for sure.”