Matthew Thomas Holliday (born January 15, 1980, in Template:City-state), is a left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. Holliday was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the seventh round of the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft.
Holliday is a four-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner. He was the runner-up in the National League MVP voting for the 2007 Major League Baseball season. He won the 2007 National League Championship Series MVP as he helped guide the Rockies to their first-ever National League pennant and World Series appearance.
Holliday was recruited out of Stillwater High School, in Oklahoma to play quarterback at Oklahoma State, but he chose to sign with the Colorado Rockies and was signed by scout Pat Daugherty. As a senior, Holliday earned All-American honors in football and baseball and also earned his region's Gatorade Player of the Year award in both sports. He also competed for the 1997 USA Junior National Team.
On December 14, 2007, Holliday had his #24 high school jersey retired in a ceremony at Stillwater High School. Businesses in Stillwater were also asked to honor Holliday that day by posting a "Welcome Home Matt Holliday" message on a marquee or window.
Major league careerEdit
Holliday was originally scheduled to spend much of 2004 with Colorado Rockies' Triple-A affiliate Colorado Springs Sky Sox. However, due to injuries to Rockies outfielders Preston Wilson and Larry Walker, he soon became a mainstay in the Rockies lineup. Holliday made his major league debut on April 16, 2004, in an away game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He had three at-bats, but didn't record a hit. Holliday played a total of 121 games during his rookie season and finished with a .290 batting average, 14 home runs, 31 doubles and 57 RBIs. He hit his first career home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 22, 2004.
Holliday played in 125 games during the 2005 season and improved in nearly all of his offensive categories from the previous season. He hit .307 with 147 hits, 19 home runs, 87 RBIs, 68 runs, 14 stolen bases and 242 total bases. He also had a better slugging percentage (.505) and on base percentage (.361). After the All-Star break, Holliday hit 14 home runs, which were the most on the Colorado Rockies during the second half of the season. He also drove in 64 runs after the All-Star break, second in the National League to Chase Utley (65).
Holliday spent time on the disabled list from June 9 to July 18, due to a fractured right pinky finger. In September, Holliday hit a National League-high 32 RBI, which was also a Rockies record for the month of September. On September 20, he tied a Colorado Rockies record by hitting eight RBIs in one game. He also hit two home runs in that game, which turned out to be a 20–1 blowout against the San Diego Padres. Holliday's eight RBIs was the second-highest single-game total in the 2005 Major League Baseball season, second only to the 10 RBI by New York Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez on April 26 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Holliday played in 155 games during the 2006 season. He hit .326 with 196 hits, 34 home runs, 114 RBIs, 119 runs, 10 stolen bases and 353 total bases. His slugging percentage was .586 while his on base percentage was .387. Holliday finished in the top five of the National League in batting average, hits, runs, extra base hits, total bases and slugging percentage. He finished first on the Colorado Rockies in home runs, extra base hits, runs, total bases and multi-hit games. Holliday also had the luxury of being only one of 11 MLB players during the 2006 season to steal home. He stole home as part of a double steal in an August 9, game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Holliday was voted in by players and coaches as a reserve in the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which was his first career All-Star selection. Holliday also received his first Silver Slugger Award for his outstanding hitting during the 2006 season.
Holliday's 2007 season was the best of his career, thus far. He played in 158 games and had career highs in batting average (.340; leading the NL), hits (216; leading the NL), runs (120; 3rd in the NL, behind Jimmy Rollins and Hanley Ramirez), doubles (50; leading the NL), home runs (36), RBIs (137; leading the NL), walks (63), slugging percentage (.607; 3rd in the NL, behind Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder), OPS (1.012; 3rd in the NL, behind Chipper Jones and Fielder), extra base hits (92; leading the NL) and total bases (386; leading the NL). Holliday finished in at least the top six of the National League in each of those categories except walks. He batted .376 with a .722 slugging percentage and 25 home runs at mile-high Coors Field, and hit .301 with a .485 slugging percentage and 11 home runs in away games. He became only the fifth National League player in the last 59 years to lead the NL in both batting average and RBIs. He also became only the 13th major league player in the last 45 years to finish a season with at least 200 hits and 50 doubles. Furthermore, there was a stretch during the season in which Holliday reached base safely in 36 consecutive games. That broke a Rockies record held by Todd Helton and Larry Walker, as each of them had a streak of 35 consecutive games. Along with his impressive offensive numbers, Holliday established himself as a legitimate defender, as he had the second highest fielding percentage out of all MLB left fielders (.990). He committed only three errors, on an MLB-high 306 total chances for left fielders.
Holliday's accomplishments during the season led to a second All-Star appearance, as he was once again voted in by players and coaches of the National League. He received the most votes (725) from them than any other player in MLB. Holliday also participated in the 2007 Home Run Derby, but didn't win. He was named NL Player of the Month for September. His season garnered strong MVP talk, as he, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder were considered the prime National League MVP candidates following the conclusion of the 2007 regular season. Holliday ended up coming in second in the vote, with 336 points, compared to 363 points for Rollins. It was the closest voting for NL MVP since Atlanta Braves third baseman Terry Pendleton beat out Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds by 15 points in 1991.
Holliday made the playoffs for the first time in his career during the 2007 season. The Rockies entered the playoffs as a wild card team. In the first game of the National League Division Series against the Phillies in Philadelphia, Holliday hit a solo homer to left-center in the eighth inning to give the Rockies a 4–2 lead, which proved to be the final score. In the second game of the series, Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Holliday hit back-to-back first-pitch homers in the first inning. Holliday also singled in Colorado second baseman Kazuo Matsui in the sixth inning to bring the score to 10–3, on the way to a 10–5 win. The Rockies won game three in Denver, 2–1, to complete a three-game sweep of the Phillies. Colorado then advanced to the National League Championship Series to face the Arizona Diamondbacks. Colorado swept Arizona in four games, and Holliday was named the 2007 National League Championship Series MVP, as he hit .333 with two home runs and four RBIs during the series. The NLCS sweep earned the Rockies their first-ever trip to the World Series.
Despite the struggles of the Colorado Rockies in the first two games of the 2007 World Series, Holliday remained strong offensively, collecting 4 hits in game two alone. However, he also committed a crucial blunder that was arguably the biggest play of that game. After his fourth hit, in the eighth inning off of Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, Holliday was immediately picked off first base by Papelbon for the third out, leaving Helton at the plate with Colorado trailing 2–1. The Red Sox were able to hold on by that same score for the victory. During game three, Holliday came through in the clutch in the bottom of the seventh inning with a three-run home run. Rather aptly, the home run came just as Fox Sports commentators Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were describing Holliday as a possible MVP candidate during the regular season.
On May 25, 2008, the Rockies placed Holliday on the 15-day disabled list, due to a strained left hamstring that he suffered in a 9–2 home loss against the New York Mets the previous day. Colorado activated him off the disabled list on June 10, 2008.
On July 6, 2008, Holliday was named an All-Star reserve for the third consecutive year. However, due to an injury to Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who was voted in by fans as a starter, Holliday replaced Soriano as one of the starters in the outfield. During the All-Star Game, he played in right field and hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning, which was the first run of the game.
Holliday played in fewer games (139) in 2008 than in his previous two seasons (partly due to spending time on the disabled list). Consequently, his numbers also dropped off, as he finished the season batting .321 with 173 hits, 25 home runs, 88 RBIs, 107 runs, and 290 total bases. He did, however, end up winning his third consecutive Silver Slugger Award and had career highs in stolen bases (28) and on-base percentage (.409). His 28 stolen bases were the third-most among all MLB left fielders. His .409 on-base percentage was the second-highest for MLB left fielders.
Defensively, Holliday was first in zone rating (.900), fourth in fielding percentage (.991), fifth in total chances (252) and fifth in putouts (240) among all MLB left fielders. His total chances and putouts came in about 100 fewer innings than those players ahead of him.
On November 12, 2008, Holliday was traded to the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Huston Street and Greg Smith, and outfielder Carlos González. He began working with Mark McGwire as his hitting coach during the 2008–2009 offseason.
After spending most of the off-season on the trading block with the Rockies, Holliday found himself back in the rumor mill during most of his Spring with the Athletics. After the Athletics failed to get off to a strong start, Holliday's name became the topic of trade rumors with several teams, as it was unlikely the Athletics would have been able to resign him as a free agent after the 2009 season.
Holliday played in 93 games for the Oakland Athletics, where he hit .286 with 11 HR and 54 RBI; although he hit .390, with a .422 On-base percentage, and a .756 slugging percentage during his final two weeks with the club.
St. Louis CardinalsEdit
Upon Holliday's arrival in St. Louis he was not granted his customary number 5 jersey due to it being worn by All-Star first baseman Albert Pujols. Instead, he was given the number 15 (last worn by Jim Edmonds) to wear with the Cardinals.
Holliday's debut with the Cardinals included a four-hit game with an RBI and a stolen base, despite having to borrow a glove, batting gloves, bats and shoes from teammates since his equipment had not yet arrived in St. Louis.
Holliday played in 63 games for St. Louis during 2009; hitting .353, with 13 HR and 55 RBI on a team that won the National League Central and made the playoffs for the first time in three years. After Holliday's arrival in late July, the Cardinals went on a torrid streak. They went 20–6 in August and stretched their National League Central Division lead from one-half game on August 1st to ten games on September 1st.
Holliday and the Cardinals did not fare well in the 2009 postseason. He was 2 for 12 overall, and he dropped a fly-ball which would have tied the divisional playoff series 1–1. Instead, he and the Cardinals went on to be swept 0–3 by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Holliday filed for free agency on November 5, 2009.
On January 7, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Holliday to a seven-year, $120 million deal. In honor of fellow Oklahoman, Mickey Mantle, he switched his number from 15 to 7. His contract, which runs through 2016 with an option for an eighth year (provided he places 10th or better in MVP balloting in 2016) features a full no-trade clause, A $1M buyout is given if the option for 2017 is not picked up.
On July 4th, Holliday was selected to the 2010 All Star Game as a reserve player. It will be Holliday's 4th All Star Game. On July 6th, It was announced that Holliday will participate in the 2010 Home Run Derby at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim. i
Holliday and his wife, Leslee, have three sons, Jackson (born December 4, 2003), Ethan (born February 23, 2007), Reed (born July 24, 2013)and and a daughter, Gracyn (born November 7, 2009). He is the son of former Oklahoma State University (and current North Carolina State associate head coach) Tom Holliday and the nephew of Rockies scout Dave Holliday. Holliday's brother, Josh, is currently an assistant coach for the Vanderbilt University Commodores baseball team, having previously been an assistant at Arizona State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State. Holliday's brother also pitched to him during the 2007 Home Run Derby at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Holliday has a great following with fans on the St. Louis Cardinals message board where they bestowed upon him the nickname, "The Stillwater Stinger". Anytime he hits a home run, fans post the message: 'IT'S A DINGER FOR THE STILLWATER STINGER!!!"
- 4-time All-Star (2006–2008, 2010)
- 3-time Silver Slugger (2006–2008)
- 2007 National League Championship Series MVP
- National League Player of the Month (September 2007)
- National League Batting Champion (2007)
- National League RBI leader (2007)
- National League Doubles leader (2007)
- National League Hits leader (2007)
- National League Total Bases leader (2007)
- National League Extra Base Hits leader (2007)
- The Sporting News All-Star team (2007)
- 5-time National League Player of the Week (July 25–21, 2005; September 18–24, 2006; July 23–29 & September 10–16, 2007; April 7–13, 2008)
- Baseball America All-Rookie team (2004)
- Topps All-Star Rookie team (2004)
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