Written by Alexis Brudnicki
Tyler Hall was loyal, trusting, honest and witty. He was kind, intelligent, patient and open. He was a husband to Helen, father to Adam, and one of the original members of the Great Lake Canadians family.
Almost a decade ago, before he and his family departed their home in Bermuda to spend their Christmas break in Woodstock with his relatives – Tyler and Helen with a reprieve from their jobs as teachers and Adam off from school – he reached out to Centrefield Sports. It was then that Adam Stern was introduced to both Tyler and a young Adam.
The father of one had emailed a video of his 12-year-old son, along with an inquiry. Tyler was hoping Adam could take part in the facility’s annual Christmas camp, but was also looking for an evaluation of his talent. As a gym teacher, Tyler had introduced his son to an array of sports, but baseball wasn’t prevalent on the island and he was looking to see where Adam might fit in to confirm whether he should pursue it further. His inclination was quickly substantiated.
“The minute Adam started doing anything, whether it was throwing a baseball, running, soccer, football, he was a difference-maker,” Stern said. “Everything he did was so much faster than what I’d ever seen coaching. You knew there was something special about him.
“Tyler was reaching out to because they were thinking about moving Adam away from home. He had so much care for the situation, he was methodical about it, he always thought a few steps ahead, and it’s something that very few parents can think about when their child is 12 years old, moving them away and taking on a whole different life. Tyler did because he knew his son loved baseball and it was something he wanted to do, and he wanted to help facilitate it.”
Thanks to some assistance from Ken Frohwerk and Karen Stone, Helen and Tyler were able to start Adam on the path to pursuing his big league dreams. On the field, they entrusted their son to the men behind the Canadians program, before it had even begun. It wasn’t long before the Hall trio was reunited in London, however, and Tyler was fulfilling Adam’s requests to bring him to hit, field, soft toss to him, or just sit idly by as he honed his craft.
“Tyler was always a very humble person,” Stern said. “His son was a good player, but he never used that. It was refreshing. He wanted Adam to earn everything, which Adam did, but he never put himself or Adam ahead of anyone else, even though they had put everything they had into it.”
Added Chris Robinson: “He had the ability to be a very involved, hands-on dad in a really good way. He spent countless hours at the facility with Adam throwing batting practice, but it was never him telling him how to do it or what to do. He was just there doing it with him, letting him do his own thing and being supportive.”
Adam, Tyler and Helen spent five years in the Great Lake Canadians program, though they have continued to be a constant presence even since the young shortstop was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the 2017 draft – Tyler’s proudest moment as a father.
“Adam’s an easy kid to root for, and it’s because of his upbringing,” Robinson said. “He’s a very serious kid, but he is obviously very appreciative, and that comes from Helen and Tyler. They’re grateful people. It’s something Tyler’s passed down – probably his seriousness as well – and their willingness to help. He and Helen were always the first to step up, ask what they could do, they were always involved without being asked.”
“Over the years we got to know Tyler a lot more and I really came to appreciate his loyalty and honesty,” Stern said. “Those are two things that are hard to come by sometimes. I appreciate that about him, and being able to check in with him when he would come to GLC games just to watch. He loved baseball. It’s in him, it’s in the family, and the support from him and Helen will stay with us for a long time.”
Tyler spent many days pulling up a lawn chair at the Field of Dreams in Dorchester or taking a bleacher seat at Centrefield Sports – when he wasn’t fulfilling orders as a thoughtful and detailed woodworker – but four years ago he also began a campaign to raise funds for local children stricken with cancer to enjoy an all-expenses-paid getaway to Toronto, to take in a Blue Jays game and more recently, have an expanded experience in the city.
“His legacy is still being written,” Robinson said. “I remember when he started the fundraiser and he talked about helping one family. Then it’s three, now it’s four, and it was so important to him and it’s been such a great endeavour.”
Added Stern: “He’s a special person. You see it in everything he did, but also in his charitable efforts for paediatric cancer patients. It’s amazing what he was able to do when he put his mind to it, even hosting the Tunes and Trivia fundraiser two months ago. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. It was great just to be a part of the journey and he’s always going to be remembered fondly by us.”