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Jackson Holliday latest second-generation player making an impact - 'I remember being at Coors'

Patrick Lyons Avatar
July 27, 2023

In the 31-year history of the Colorado Rockies, only four players who have ever sired a big leaguer.

Jackson Holliday of the Baltimore Orioles is well on his way to making his father, Matt Holliday, the fifth.

The first overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft out of Stillwater (Okla.) High School, Holliday had great success in his first season as a professional before reaching Double-A as a teenager less than one year after signing with the Orioles.

“I’m definitely more experienced than I was at the beginning of the season,” the 19-year-old said at the 2023 MLB Futures Game. “It’s my first full season so I’m just getting all these at bats under my belt in all these games. It’s been a lot of fun and it’s a good experience so far.”

His transition to the third different level has been seamless. Batting .375 (15-for-42) for the Bowie BaySox since his promotion to the Eastern League might even put him on track to appear in Denver when Baltimore travels to Coors Field next season on Aug 31 – Sept 2.

It may stand to reason that the son of a 15-year big leaguer would be able to progress in the pro game as quickly as Holliday, but that’s not far from the truth. Countless numbers of big leaguers of varying success — over 23,000 to date have had at least a cup of coffee — never had an offspring reach The Show. Only 258 players can stake that claim.

All four fathers from Colorado who have witnessed their sons reach the promised land played on the original Rockies of 1993: LHP Bruce Ruffin and son Chance Ruffin; 3B Charlie Hayes and son Ke’Bryan Hayes; Dante Bichette and so Bo Bichette; and Eric Young Sr. and son Eric Young Jr. The Young’s remain the only father and son duo to don the purple pinstripes. 

Matt Holliday, who didn’t debut until over a decade later in 2004, would join the club as the outlier.

“Just being able to go to the field with him as a little kid and experiencing some pretty good teams out there,” Jackson said of the memories surrounding his father’s time in the Majors. “I grew up with a lot of my dad’s teammates. Whenever I was little, they watched me. Always happy memories.”

The left-handed hitting shortstop cherishes his father’s cleats amongst his favorite pieces of memorabilia, including some from his seven All-Star Games. During the Futures Game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle as part of the 2023 MLB All-Star Week, Jackson was also wearing his father’s no. 7, which Matt wore for eight years with the St. Louis Cardinals and during his final season with Colorado in 2018.

And he remembers the clubhouse at Coors Field. “Vague memories, but yeah, I do,” Holliday confirmed. “The clubhouse was always fun as a kid.”

Though fellow progeny Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays has yet to cross paths with Jackson, he’s supportive of anyone in the baseball fraternity. Especially those with ties to the Colorado Rockies.

“I’ve had conversations with his dad before. Anything that kid needs from me, I’ll be there to help him,” Bichette said of Holliday. “It’s an interesting dynamic and obviously we share a lot.

The Coach’s Son

Three coaches with the Rockies over the years have seen their son reach the Majors.

Ken Griffey Jr., son of hitting and first base coach Ken Griffey (1996), was a nearly unanimous selection (99.32%) to the Baseball Hall of Fame following 630 home runs during his 22-year career as one of the most exciting players of all-time.

Jason Kendall, son of bullpen coach Fred (2000-02), had a 15-year career with five teams and finished with 2,195 hits, second-most among catchers behind only Hall of Famer Iván Rodríguez.

Manager Buddy Bell (2000-02), whose father Gus is the first in the line of three generations of big leaguers, had a pair of notable sons. Mike Bell played one season while David Bell had 12 years before becoming a manager with the Cincinnati Reds in 2019. 

Sons & Fathers

And then there are those members of the Rockies who had a father that helped pave their way to the big leagues.

  • Sandy Alomar Jr. (2002) and Sandy Alomar
  • Drew Butera (2019-20) and Sal Butera
  • C.J. Cron (2021-current) and Chris Cron
  • Jason Grilli (2008-09) and Steve Grilli
  • Brian McRae (1999) and Hal McRae
  • Omar Olivares (1995) and Ed Olivares
  • Darren Oliver (2003) and Bob Oliver
  • Fred Rath (1998) and Fred Rath
  • Josh Roenicke (2011-12) and Gary Roenicke
  • Justin Speier (2001-03) and Chris Speier

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