Sea Lion Hall wishes you a Happy Cinco de Mayo

Charley “Sea Lion” Hall, pictured here warming up for the Red Sox in 1913, was born Carlos Clolo, of Mexican parentage, in Ventura, Calif.

As far as the ‘Sea Lion’ name, the only thing I ever heard was, ‘he had the voice of a walrus.’ ~ a baseball historian quoted at Wikipedia

Sea Lion Hall they used to call him. He had a raucous penetrating voice like a fog horn at sea, and when he roared, especially from the coaching lines, you could hear him all over the stands.

Hall pitched in the big leagues….when inelegant players referred to Charley as ‘the Greaser.’ He didn’t mind Sea Lion, rather relished it, but Greaser was a fighting word, and Charley was in plenty of fights. He capitalized on his ability with his fists and in handling rough customers. ~ The baseball writer Fred Lieb, quoted in a history of the St. Paul Saints

Image: Library of Congress

* * *

The author Richard Rodriguez, himself of Mestizo (Indian and Spanish) descent, offers a fascinating and very useful perspective on the immigration controversy in his essay “Mexicans in America”:

Hispanic. In all the video footage I have seen of people crossing illegally from Mexico, of people arrested, the faces look more Indian than Spanish. Most of the illegal immigrants from Mexico may be mestizo, racially, but Indian features predominate. And isn’t that curious? The Indians are illegally coming into the United States. Indians will always wander in the Americas and they should.

Elsewhere he says:

I keep trying to tell people that Los Angeles is already the largest Indian city in the U.S., that there are Toltecs playing Little League baseball in Pasadena, Mayans making beds at the Marriott in Westwood, and Chichimecs driving buses in L.A. Los Angeles is a majority-Indian city. Of course, since we don’t see the Indian as a living figure — having turned the Indian into a kind of mascot for the ecology movement, a symbol of prehistory — we can’t see the Indian among us. But what really terrifies Americans right now is the prospect that the Indian is very much alive, that the Indian is having nine babies in Guatemala, and that those nine babies are headed this way. This is one reason why Americans hold on so dearly to the myth of the dead Indian.

Again, Richard Rodriguez — very much worth a read:

“A View from the Melting Pot”

“Mexicans in America”

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11 responses to “Sea Lion Hall wishes you a Happy Cinco de Mayo

  1. Reminds me it has been way, way too long since I took the Number 2 train up to visit the sea lions–always my favorite part of the Bronx Zoo. (I probably liked the sea lions, in part, because old school paternal authority was not eroded by any modern concepts.)
    And interesting reflections about immigartion issues–I concurr in part and dissent in part (kinda like Taft reacting to TR).

  2. I always find the assumptions that Indians are a thing of the past to be very curious. I suspect that this is an urban view mostly.

    In most Western states, there are significant native populations. In my own state, there’s a fairly sizable native population both on and off the reservation, which itself is the size of Vermont. There is no “dead Indian” view amongst those from here, although those who are from here do not always hold the most logical or charitable views towards the very much alive Indian, which is a prejudicial problem in and of itself.

    Unfortunately, the views that hold that Indians are a peo0ple of the past also tend to freeze them in legal time, which is ill suited for any people. This helps create their desperate poverty. All in all, while their numbers are at an all time high, they are also the poorest people in the US. On one hand, there are those who would forever imagine them as being a sort of benighted 19th Century people, which is ill suited to address their problems as a living people of the 21st Century. On the other hand, there are those who still harbor very prejudicial views which doesn’t help either.

    At any rate, we don’t need to look towards Guatemala or even LA for our native population. Chances are, they’re living much more closely and being ignored.

  3. And, of course, had our buddy Teddy Ballgame been Mexican on his father’s side, rather than his mother’s , he might never have had a career here.

  4. Well, if Ted had been Mexican on his father’s side that might have been true, as he might have had a very different life, to be sure. On the other hand, it does seem that baseball has drawn in players from our near neighbors for a fairly long time.

  5. Granpa was Not Mexican, which you assume, as he did speak Spanish. His father’s family: decent from Bergen, Norway in the 1500’s. His mother’s family: decent from Italy, wife: Spain. People forget being Catholic was un-acceptable. (Remember the Irish/Catholic Kennedys?) All the records at the church were in Spanish, hence: Carlos Luis. If that was correct, my late husband would not be Charles Louis Hall III. Chief Meyers (Native American) spoke Spanish. The clolo is someone hearing him called Cholo. It was probably Chief calling him that. Hey, you think maybe “Chief” is not his Real name?! People need to research the truth, not what someone thinks, and repeats.

  6. Mrs Glidewell-Hall, thanks for your note and your perspective. That’s pretty cool to have Sea Lion Hall as an ancestor — you must be proud of him.

    In my defense I will say that I don’t “assume” anything about your grandfather. I have conveyed what is widely reported — that Sea Lion Hall was born of Mexican parentage. See this book on Tris Speaker:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=kjLma5f0FZgC&lpg=PA99&dq=charley%20sea%20lion%20hall%20mexican&pg=PA99#v=onepage&q=charley%20sea%20lion%20hall%20mexican&f=false

    See this account by Sea Lion himself in which he describes sharing with his also-Spanish-speaking catcher a “Mexican-Cuban” horselaugh at a batter’s expense:
    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=briefbu01

    See this history of Fenway:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=WxtCeQ2nXWgC&lpg=PA9&dq=charley%20sea%20lion%20hall%20mexican&pg=PA9#v=onepage&q=charley%20sea%20lion%20hall%20mexican&f=false

    And see this history of the Pacific Coast League:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=BWRNtf-_PEkC&pg=PA75&dq=charley+sea+lion+hall+mexican&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Bhy-T_LoOOP16AHf1bhB&ved=0CFcQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=charley%20sea%20lion%20hall%20mexican&f=false

    So at any rate the common knowledge is that he was Mexican-American, but from what you say there is an interesting story to be told about his background that is not widely known. I’ll bet if you contacted the Society for American Baseball Research they would be interested!

    • Sir, you have just handed Charley Hall’s family the piece of a puzzle we have searched for, for many yrs!. I am floored. The description of the Red Sox having a professional photographer at the opening of Fenway Park in the book abt Tris Speaker…is REAL. I have that panoramic picture that includes both the Boston Red Sox And the New York Highlanders…w/ those 2 players in the midst of the NY team!!!! I had a professional appraiser look at it and she blew me off. I was puzzled by the off-hand attitude, as another appraiser couldn’t believe what he had in his hands! Thank you!! You can imagine how many books, magazines, etc. that we have looked at. Now, we can explain [why?] were those guys so happy in the midst of their “contenders”? The pic is not only marking the birth of Fenway Park a part of history, but is now, “officially” an antique. I’m on the search for any other folks or organization that might have one of the prints. Ain’t history grand?!

  7. Thank you for the extra family info. I just wish people would make an effort (like you) to keep it real. Yes, Granpa decended from the Spanish military soldiers now known as “Los Californios” begining in the settlement of 1769. Many folks do not realize how the Spanish interacted with the natives. There was mixing, no doubt. Then they made a concerted extra effort to keep the Spanish seperate. I have studied the genealogy of my family for over 30 yrs, starting when we found an olde bible w/ family info dated 1805. I believe even Granpa understood only a small part of his family history. Oral history ran very large in the family. I have had a wonderful experience w/ Bill Nowlin and John Stahl sharing Charley’s overwhelming desire to play ball since he was abt 8 yrs old, to the retirement yrs as a coach. That stern countenance was not anger, it was that constantly deliberate drive to learn and succeed. The Hall men of the last 5 or 6 generations were known for their can do attitude, especially under pressure. The newest book from Rounder and Bill Nowlin tracing the stories of all members of the 1912 Boston Red Sox World Series Team has just recently been released. ; )

  8. The reference to being born in Kerrville Texas….a completely different Charlie Hall. This has since been corrected. Bill Nowlin of the American Baseball Research (Vice Pres.) has done a wonderful job of noting corrections and seeing that the new info is shared w/ all researchers.
    I am still in shock abt the panoramic pic!!!

  9. Hey, that’s great about the picture! Happy to be of assistance!

    Agreed, Bill Nowlin does an outstanding job — I will be sure to keep an eye out for his latest.

    Appreciate your stopping by the blog — it’s a pleasure to make the acquaintance of Sea Lion Hall’s granddaughter. Have you written any articles about him? Bet you could put together a very interesting essay.

  10. ReBecca Glidewell-Hall

    Hi Ray,
    Bill Nowlin has used my info in reference to Granpa Hall in his newest book just released. John Stahl (not a relation of Jake Stahl who played w/ Granpa) will be sharing a bio on Granpa on the SABR website. For anyone who might be interested in the 1912 Panoramic Pic, described by Timothy M. Gay in his book abt Tris Speaker, shoot me an e-mail or reply here and I will contact you. Thanks to the readers for sharing info w/ their family and friends! Sincerely, The Hall Family

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