By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - For 4.2 glorious innings in 2006, Andrew Hall was untouchable out of the bullpen for Auburn.
ERA: 0.00. Four strikeouts. No walks. Then, just like that, it was over.
Residual arm injuries from junior college limited Hall's availability at Auburn. Then a case of mono did him in for good.
"It was just kind of time to move on," Andrew says. "I got married, and I was starting my master's program."
Andrew Hall pitched 4.2 innings of relief for Auburn in 2006 with a 0.00 ERA.
Auburn fans thought they'd seen the last of him. Until they tuned in to an Atlanta Braves game the following season.
Andrew's soon-to-be brother-in-law, Tyler Crawford, was "Tito."
In the summer of 2007, the Auburn students wrote a song about an All-Star player the Braves had just acquired in a trade. They liked it so much, they recorded a video on the couch in Andrew's trailer, with Tyler ("Tito") playing guitar, and Andrew ("the Gun Show") on lead vocals.
Before anyone knew what "going viral" meant, they were about to go viral. These were the early days of social media, when Myspace was bigger than Facebook.
"When I first came to Auburn, if you were going to watch something, you'd go to eBaum's World," says Tyler. "YouTube had just gotten off the ground. Facebook was new to me, too.
"The fondest memory was the unexpected nature of it. It was just doing something just because. We didn't know where it was going to take us. We were literally just sitting around in his place, in Auburn, the night that Mark Teixeira arrived. We watched him walk into the dugout and we were so genuinely excited that we grabbed a guitar and decided to write a song about it."
Four and a half games back and I don't care-a. You know why. We got Mark Teixeira.
"If something goes viral now, it will get there quick," Andrew says. "I had no concept of how quickly something could spread. You have 100 views the first day, then you wake up the next morning and there's 5,000 views. We were on Extra Mustard on SI, I remember. Buster Olney mentioned our video on Baseball Tonight. When that kind of exposure happens, it really boosts those numbers."
A few days later, Andrew and Tyler were back at work at Auburn's Office of Information Technology HelpDesk, when an email arrived from the fiancé of Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur.
"Both of us were just giddy," Tyler remembers. "We were like, `This cannot be real.' She's telling us that Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur, Tim Hudson and all of these guys have seen the video and they love it. We thought it was a scam, really. We thought someone was messing with us. The rest was history."
The Braves invited Tito and the Gun Show to perform a pregame concert at Turner Field. Fox Sports South wanted in. Tyler and Andrew met the song's namesake, Mark Teixeira himself.
Published on August 10, 2007, on YouTube, "Mark Teixeria" closed in on 400,000 views.
Two months later, Tito and the Gun Show dropped a follow-up video, a tribute to a fellow former Auburn pitcher, titled, "Timmy Hudson."
Timmy Hudson's a Tiger at heart. The Braves are sure to win when he gets the start.
Like all one-hit wonders, Tito and the Gun Show were never able to duplicate the success of "Mark Teixeira," although "Timmy Hudson" garnered a respectable 41K YouTube views, and another invitation to perform.
"We got to play at the Hudson Family Foundation kickoff party," Andrew says. "It was a bunch of Braves players and their friends."
Much like Andrew's Auburn pitching career, Tito and the Gun Show's musical career was bright and brief.
Andrew moved to Atlanta, where he's a business analyst for Piedmont Healthcare. His brother-in-law, Tyler, a CPA, is relocating to Auburn from Birmingham. They each have four children. Andrew named the second of his four sons, Hudson.
There are no plans for a 10-year Tito Reunion Tour, although Tyler still plays guitar and writes songs, most recently with a co-worker about counting money. Andrew sings in church, occasionally leading the congregation in a capella singing.
'You were the guy?'
Every once in a while, someone will bring up the Teixeira song.
"There are friends of mine now over here who were like, `Are you kidding me? You were the guy that did that? I saw that because I was a Braves fan,'" Andrew says.
"There was some guy in his mid-twenties who I played basketball with, who found that out and said, `Are you serious? I did a report on that in school.' He had to do a report about something artistic and he said it was popular at the time."
Tyler says he jumped at the chance to move back to Auburn when his firm's merger created an opportunity.
"Auburn is just a great place, and I'm really excited about it," he says. "Baseball, I'll take my kids, and I love it."
When Andrew pitched for the Tigers in 2006, Auburn coach Butch Thompson was in his first season as an assistant.
"I really respected the way he went about his business," Andrew says. "His morals seemed to be grounded in his faith and I appreciated that. I'm really anxious to see what he can do with the program. Obviously he has it turned around in the right direction."
A week after Tito and the Gun Show's concert at Turner Field, Andrew married Tyler's sister, Emily. This summer marks the 10-year anniversary of two milestones, their marriage and Andrew and Tyler's 15 minutes of fame.
"That's something we will always have and think back on about how cool that was," says the vocalist formerly known as the Gun Show. "Things we got the chance to do just because we wrote a few silly rhymes."
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer