Throwback Thursday: Shaeffer Hall
Aug. 18, 2011
TRENTON, N.J. –
Shaeffer Hall (Baseball 2008-09)
Lee Summit, Mo., native Shaeffer Hall has traded in his Crimson and Blue baseball uniform for the legendary pinstripes of the New York Yankees. Hall, a pitcher at Kansas from 2008-09, was drafted by New York in the 25th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. In his two plus seasons playing professionally, the southpaw has climbed as high as Triple A, having made one start with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Pa.), Yankees earlier this season. Hall currently owns a 10-7 record and a 4.40 ERA for the Yankees’ Double A affiliate, Trenton (N.J.), Thunder in 24 games this season.
When did you realize baseball was a sport you wanted to play in college and beyond?
“I think it was in high school when I was maturing and I was interested in playing college baseball. I did not really know what type of level I was going to end up at, but I went to all the showcases and traveled with my summer team. My senior year a Division II school showed some interest in me and that is when things started to turn.”
What made you decide to come to Kansas?
“I originally signed with a Jefferson County College, which was a Division II program out of high school because I had a good year during my senior season, which opened up some scout’s eyes. That is why the Texas Rangers drafted me out of high school, which made me reevaluate my decision, but ultimately I decided to go to junior college. During my freshman year at Jefferson County (Hillsboro, Mo.), Coach Graves, who was a former KU pitching coach saw me during the fall and gave me the opportunity to come to Kansas.”
How much did that year of playing junior college ball help you?
“I think it gave me some good experience because I saw some pretty good hitters. Obviously, it was not quite Big 12 caliber play, but it gave me a year of college ball and some confidence too because I had a pretty good year there. I was named an All-American my freshman year at Jefferson, so it was a good stepping stone for me before I went to Kansas.”
What was your most memorable moment as a Jayhawk?
“I have a few. My sophomore year (2008), I was given the opportunity to pitch at Kauffman Stadium against Missouri and I had a lot of friends and family there watching me. It was a pretty good atmosphere as well. We were able to come out with the victory (3-0). I ended up pitching seven innings and then Paul Smyth came in and threw the last two. My junior year (2009), in the first game of the season, Coach Price gave me the ball and I was able to throw a no-hitter against Air Force. To this day, that is probably the highlight of my baseball career.
The final moment that comes to mind would be going to Oklahoma City to play in the Big 12 Tournament and then getting the invite to the North Carolina for the Chapel Hill Regional. That was an awesome experience and I’m pretty fortunate I got to take part in that.”
What was the most challenging part of being a student-athlete?
“I would have to say dealing with the schedule I had. You had to prioritize a lot and lay out your schedule. You also had to be on time to everything you were obligated to be at, whether it was classes, practices or tutoring sessions. That was tough, but I think it made me a better student and player. Balancing school with baseball was tough during the season because we would get back from a weekend series on late Sunday night and then I would have to get up for a 7:30 class on Monday morning.”
What advice would you give to current Jayhawk baseball players?
“Keep working hard. I think that is pretty simple, but it is true. You are given a lot of good instruction by the coaching staff and you have everything there for you. There is a strengthening and conditioning coach and a trainer that works really hard for you, so if you take advantage of all that you should be pretty successful.”
Do you keep in touch with former KU teammates?
“Yes, I do as much as I can. Some of my closest friends still play professional baseball, but it is kind of tough with our schedules because we go to the field every day and play usually at night. Still though, I try to keep in touch with as many of my former teammates as I possibly can.”
Which school was your favorite to play against while you were at Kansas?
“I would have to say Missouri. Growing up on the Missouri side of Kansas City, I have always been a Jayhawk fan. I was pretty much the only Jayhawk in my group up friends and everyone else rooted for the Tigers. I had a lot of friends throughout high school from my area that ended up going to Mizzou, while I was at Kansas, playing baseball. That is why being able to throw against them and have bragging rights were pretty special.”
Is there any pitcher who you try to emulate?
“I like to watch Mark Buehrle (Chicago White Sox) pitch. I think I throw sort of the same style as him, so because of that I like to watch him throw. I also like to see Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee (Philadelphia Phillies) throw. I like watching those three guys pitch because they can locate all of their pitches for strikes and work at a good pace.”
What is it like playing in the New York Yankees organization?
“It is what it seems like outside. Everyone is first class in this organization and they treat everybody very well. The day I got drafted, I was pretty overwhelmed because I did not really see the Yankees drafting me, but when that day came I was very thankful. Just how much history they have is amazing.”
Who is the toughest hitter you have faced so far?
“The last couple years have been pretty cool because I have been able to face a couple big league hitters. Last year during the season, Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies), was in a rehab assignment in Clearwater so I faced him a few times. This year during spring training I was able to throw against Curtis Granderson (New York Yankees), in a simulated game. Also, this year we were playing in Maryland and I faced Vladimir Guerrero (Baltimore Orioles), because he was doing a rehab assignment. Being able to go up against those types of hitters has been a pretty neat experience.”
What will you do once your professional baseball career is behind you?
“Right now I am working on my degree in sports management, so whenever I get done playing baseball I have intentions of working in the front office of a baseball organization somewhere. Either that or possibly in baseball operations, wherever it is, I will be working within baseball.”