Jackson Holliday’s Major League Debut a Family Affair for Orioles’ Top Prospect

Jackson Holliday, baseball’s top-ranked prospect, made his highly anticipated major league debut on Wednesday night for the Baltimore Orioles, starting at second base against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The 20-year-old infielder, who was selected first overall in the 2022 amateur draft out of high school in Oklahoma, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts but drove in a run on a groundout in Baltimore’s 7-5 victory.

While Holliday admitted he “would have liked to have gotten a few hits,” he described the overall experience as “pretty incredible” and was thrilled to contribute an RBI in his debut. The son of former All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday managed his nerves, feeling “more excited” than anxious for the big moment.

In a symbolic gesture, Holliday was assigned the No. 7 jersey – the same number his father wore during his successful major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies. The number had not been worn by an Orioles player since 1992, and the Ripken family, Baltimore baseball royalty, gave their blessing for the young prospect to don the iconic digits.

“Our family is thrilled that @J_Holliday7 will be wearing dad’s #7,” Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. posted on X. “Excited to watch him play!”

Holliday’s rapid ascension through four minor league levels in 2023 was fueled by his exceptional performance, including an impressive showing in spring training where he batted .311 with a .954 OPS in 15 games. After a brief stint in Triple-A to gain experience against left-handed pitching, Holliday received the call to join the Orioles.

While primarily a shortstop, Holliday will see most of his playing time at second base due to the presence of reigning AL Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson at shortstop. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde acknowledged the pressure and hype surrounding Holliday’s debut, encouraging the youngster to “relax, think confidently and have fun out there.”

The debut was a family affair for Holliday, with his wife, parents, siblings, and even Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps sending congratulatory messages. His father, Matt, a seven-time All-Star and the 2007 NL batting champion, was on hand to witness his son’s first major league game.

“It was a really cool moment to be able to call my dad and tell him to find his way to Boston,” Jackson Holliday said.

Despite the hitless performance, Holliday’s debut was a milestone moment for the Orioles’ top prospect and his famous baseball family. As he embarks on his major league journey, the poise and talent he displayed at such a young age bode well for his future success in Baltimore.