top of page
  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

A Holliday to Remember

No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday makes his Major League debut for the Baltimore Orioles

*Cover Photo Credit: Tyler Seller


Jackson Holliday used to follow his father, 7x All-Star and 15-year outfielder Matt, everywhere. Whatever the team was that Matt was playing for, whatever the stadium was that day, Jackson was always there like he was a part of the team. It started during pregame batting practice when toddler "Jax" would use a rubber baseball and a kid's glove to play catch with his big league dad who was preparing for that day's game. As he grew older, he began bringing is own bat to take swings with the big boys. Before you knew it, he was playing varsity baseball at Stillwater High School in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as the top prospect in his high school class. Then, he was a first overall pick. Then, the game's No. 1 prospect.


Jackson Holliday always dreamed of being a Major Leaguer. He does not have to dream any longer.


Jackson Holliday is officially in baseball's record books after his big league debut for the Baltimore Orioles last night, April 10, 2024.


On a crisp and chilly Wednesday afternoon in Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, the now 20-year-old Jackson walked onto the field for the first time with his new teammates. He took his first round of big league batting practice, took ground balls, and soaked in the excitement with Matt and his brother, top high school prospect Ethan.


No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday had dreamed of his MLB debut his entire life. Photo: The Baltimore Banner

Both Orioles and Red Sox fans quickly made their way to Fenway to welcome Jackson. The panorama and excitement that had been building around him the past year followed him to his first big league game. Jackson, who is very fan-friendly, found himself signing his signature "J-H" on tons of fans' memorabilia throughout the day while also taking countless selfies with excited fans.


For Matt, this was the same kid who used to run around with his dad on these same big league fields like he was in paradise. It was a proud moment for Matt.


"It's what he's always wanted to do," Matt told reporters yesterday, "it's kinda surreal that he gets to come out here and play on this field. He's been on this field [at Fenway] before." Jackson added that he recalls him and Ethan signing the Green Monster in left field when they were younger.


When asked if he was nervous ahead of his debut, Jackson said he was only "a little bit [nervous]."


"[I'm] not as nervous as I thought I would be," he told MASN. "[It's] not too bad, [definitely] not as nervous as I thought I would be, but more excited. I kind of changed the mindframe from nervous to excitement."


Of course, when any new guy like Jackson arrives to the show, there is always speculation as to what uniform number he will wear. Would Brandon Hyde give up his number 18 for Jackson, who wore it at Double-A and Triple-A? Would the Orioles give him number 1 for the number 1 prospect? Would he get his Spring Training number 87? Nope. They elected to go with number 7, a number that Matt wore throughout his career but was unofficially retired in Birdland for "The Oriole Way," Cal Ripken Sr. Retired it is no more, as Orioles legend Cal Jr. tweeted before the game his excitement for Jackson wearing number 7.


By wearing number 7 with the Orioles, Jackson now gets to continue the legacy of both his father and Cal Sr.


Birdland, that is a BIG deal.


"It's really cool for me able to wear [7]," Jackson told MASN. "To

share that with [the Ripken] family and to be able to represent them is real special."


The Ripken family has given Holliday their blessing to wear number 7. Photo: Tyler Seller

As the game drew nearer and as the Orioles emerged for one final stretch and throw right before the game, Jackson emerged from the clubhouse with them. This was officially everyone's first look at Jackson in a big league uniform. Assigned to bat ninth and play second base, he doned the Orioles' grey road uniform with a Major League debut patch on his right sleeve and that beloved number 7 shining bright on his back.


Jackson stood for his first MLB National Anthem, stretched and threw, and proceeded to sign more autographs for fans waiting alongside the third base seats.


Then, game time. Jackson's first scene of action didn't come via his first at-bat. It came in the bottom of the second when he and Gunnar Henderson turned a 4-6-3 double play on speedy outfielder Masataka Yoshida to end the inning.


With the Orioles being faily quiet with the bats early on, it was a fairly quick pathway to Jax's first at-bat. However, with the excitement of Jackson being there, it felt like forever until we saw him step up to the plate for the first time.


In the top of the 3rd, with fellow top prospect Colton Cowser on base after a walk, Jackson approached the plate for the first time. The public address announcer announced his name, which led to a very nice ovation from the Fenway faithful. Fans of both teams came together to welcome Jackson to the show. Holliday did his usual routine prior to stepping in the box by drawing a cross in the dirt and taking practice swings. Matt, Ethan, his sister Gracyn, his mother Leslee and his wife Chloe observed behind the Orioles' on deck circle.


Jackson struck out in his first at-bat, as he could not put the bat on a hanging Kutter Crawford curveball. In the bottom of the 3rd, a pop up from Tyler O'Neill fell in a bermuda triangle with Jackson, Anthony Santander, and Cedric Mullins all charging on. The replay shows Jackson having the best beat on it, though with the angle he was dealing with, either Mullins or Santander should have called off Jackson to take the easier route to the out themselves. That was a tough angle for Jackson to get even a glove on the ball.


So, perhaps some early nerves got Jackson a bit. He seemed to shake them off almost immediately, as he began to look clean and comfortable the remainder of the night. With the Orioles down 5-3 in the top of the 5th, he contributed with a big RBI ground out that proved to be a big insurance run for Jordan Westburg's game-winning 3-run home run in the top of the 7th.


Holliday went 0-for-4 in his debut, and the Orioles won the game 7-5, thus securing a series win of the Sox.

Jackson Holliday will not be forgetting his MLB debut anytime soon. Photo: Tyler Seller

Even amidst the hitless effort, this will be a night long remembered for years to come. For the Orioles, it is a continuation of tthe future making its way to the show. Everyone that Mike Elias has drafted and overseen development of, from Henderson to Adley Rutschman to Grayson Rodriguez, everything that he has done to create the best farm system in baseball and the future of this team, it is all coming together for this competitive, exciting, young, and dangerous Orioles team. Jackson is the latest addition to that.


For the Holliday family, it is a continuation of the baseball story that defines who they are as a family.


"It's everything we have ever dreamed of, and I am super proud of him," Ethan told reporters. "I know how hard he's worked."


"It's all I could have imagined," Jackson told reporters after the game. "Playing in the big leagues, a stadium full of fans and two really good teams, I can't ask for more."

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page