Video of an 11-year-old from Bermuda hitting amid swaying palm trees impressed Adam Stern when it popped up in his email, and sure, he told the player’s dad, the kid was welcome to attend his Christmas camp at Centrefield Sports in London, Ont. But the former big-league outfielder also made sure to try temper expectations. Lots of kids have ability. Few are prodigies.
Adam Hall’s parents signed him up for the camp during their trip home for the holidays and very quickly he caught everyone’s eye. It’s true that very few kids are prodigies but the wiry, quick-twitch shortstop with a relentless competitive bent just might be one.
“I’m sitting there going, ‘This might be the best player I’ve seen at this age – ever,’” says Stern. “He’d play soccer in another part of the camp and he looked like a world-class player. I’m talking to my guys and I’m not knowledgeable about what a great 11- or 12-year-old looks like, but I said, ‘This kid is pretty special.’ The way he hit, the way he fielded, the way he moved athletically – everything he did.”
Afterwards, Hall remembers meeting with Stern, Chris Robinson and Jamie Romak – all former national team members – to discuss things. His talent had long outgrown what the baseball leagues in Bermuda could offer and the trio delivered a simple message.
“They said you need to do something with baseball if you want to go somewhere,” recalls Hall, “and you’ve got to do something now.”
The advice was the push needed to send Hall down a path that has him positioned to be the first Canadian player selected in this summer’s draft. Some 40-plus scouts were on hand to watch the junior national team’s annual spring game against the Toronto Blue Jays, a 16-0 loss Saturday, many of them there to keep tabs on the potential early-round pick.
Hall went 0-for-3 with a walk and made a couple of nice defensive plays.
“He’s got some sandpaper to his talent which is a good thing,” says Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada’s director of national teams. “He’s a kid whom I think will handle the ups and downs of the game quite well because he competes through challenging times, he doesn’t give in to them. He fights. He battles. He grinds. That part will serve him real well as he moves forward.”