By Dave Hogg | January 26, 2021
Like many Americans, Derrick Hall hasn’t seen much of his office in the last nine months.
He probably misses it more than most of us.
After all, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ president and chief executive officer has a nicer office than most people. Not only is it large, but it has some of the best views imaginable.
“I’m lucky to have the views I do,” Hall says. “I can look straight out toward the hallway and other offices, behind me to the rotunda and team shop, and to my left down on the main concourse and field.”
Until 2020, that made Chase Field home games special for Hall.
“On game days, I am constantly waving at fans as they pass by below, with my office windows designed from floor to ceiling,” he says. “It is a great way for me to gauge crowd sizes, concourse traffic flow and concession stand line lengths from my office. There is nothing better than having fans point up, cheer and applaud on the way out after a win when I am back in there.
“It is a fishbowl but by design for interaction.”
The 51-year-old has long ties to Arizona, having earned his bachelor’s degree from ASU, but his career in baseball started across a state line and on the other side of a bitter rivalry. From 1992-2004, Hall worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers, starting as a minor league intern before working his way up to his final job as the Dodgers’ senior vice president of communications.
Those days are recognized in a very special picture on Hall’s office wall, one he considers one of his favorite decorations.
“(One) choice would be a photo of (former Dodgers owners) Walter and Peter O’Malley,” he says. “I grew up a Dodgers fan, and Peter was the first owner I worked for. He taught me a great deal about customer service and investing in your employees, and it is another reminder of the importance of the bond between a father and son.”
Another photo cherished by Hall has to do with Southern California but not the Dodgers.
“(There) is a giant photo of Walt Disney outside of his Sleeping Beauty Castle on opening day of the park in 1955,” Hall says. “It was given to me by our chief revenue officer and our chief financial officer with a note as to its significance. They chose it as a gift because of my love for Disneyland and their belief that my passion and vision resemble that of his.
“It was quite the compliment.”
After a short stint doing corporate communications, Hall joined the Diamondbacks as a senior vice president in May 2005. He was promoted to president in 2006 and became CEO in 2009.
The Diamondbacks have had some success on the field during Hall’s tenure, winning the National League West in 2007 and 2011, but have struggled to keep up with the financial juggernaut located in Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers have won eight straight division titles, three pennants and, finally, this year’s World Series over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks struggled to their worst season in a decade, going 25-35 in the pandemic-shortened season and finishing last in the division. It was a season Hall had to watch from home.
“I have only been in my office about 10 times since the pandemic,” he says. “This is sad to me, as I truly love being in my office and I miss the activity. I have an open-door policy and it is the setting of all-day drop-ins and scheduled meetings. I cannot wait for myself and our staff to return when safe to the place we call the Culture & Innovation Center.”
When he gets back, he’ll be surrounded by baseball memories, but the three most important things he named all had to do with his family.
“The most important is a photo of my father, who was my idol and mentor and had his life taken far too early from pancreatic cancer,” says Hall, who fought prostate cancer in 2011. “He was a newspaper executive, and it was taken with him standing in his office completely covered and flooded with paper and streamers by his employees as a prank.
“He was beloved by his staff and made family culture his top priority, which I try hard to replicate.”
The second item combines his family and his employer.
“Next would be a photo of my wife, Amy, on the wall right next to my desk,” he says. “It is an amazing shot taken by our staff photographer on opening day. Not only does it display her beauty but also that of our stadium, which is seen in the reflection of her sunglasses.
“It is a sellout, and the entire crowd is wearing red.”
Finally, he listed a family memento that most parents don’t consider saving.
“Third, I have the first pair of cleats worn by each of my three children in baseball and softball on my credenza,” he says. “I receive more positive comments from visitors on those, and most say they regret not having kept those of their own children.”
One day, Hall hopes to emulate his friends in Los Angeles and celebrate a World Series title in his office. Until then, he’ll stick with one of the biggest moments in franchise history.
“I have so many favorite moments here, but one that stands out is when Commissioner Selig paid us a visit and informed me and our owner, Ken Kendrick, that we had been selected to host the (2011) All-Star Game,” he says.
“It took several years of hard work, begging and lobbying to be chosen, and we did not let down. Chase Field and our staff provided one of the most memorable Mid-Summer Classics on record.”