Matt Holliday, the man nobody knows about, had his coming out party yesterday in the home run derby. Although he did not win the derby, Holliday certainly made a name for himself. He was also one of two Rockies to be selected to compete in this evening’s All Star Game, where the best in the business lace `em up for one big showdown. But why has this man’s achievements gone unnoticed?
Born on January 5, 1980 in Stillwater, Okalahoma, Holliday is living the dream playing in the MLB, but it all wasn’t easy. Standing tall at 6’4, Matt had a tough road trying to get to the big show. He made his major league debut in 2004, but that’s only after being involved in the Rockies minor league program starting in 1998. That year, he was drafted by Colorado in the 7th round of the draft. After drifting on and off the DL during his first season, last year in 2006, is where Holliday showed America what he was made of.
Last year, being his third major league season, the Rockies left fielder set career highs in nearly every category. He was selected to the All Star team, although playing for a dreadful Rockies team, he was relatively unknown. Holliday was also an NL “Silver Slugger” joining Larry Walker, Ellis Burks, and Dante Bichette as the only Colorado outfielders to win the honorable award. He finished off the impressive year with 34 long balls, 114 RBI, and batted .326. Even with his superb statistics, people still echoed “Matt who?”
The man isn’t a speed demon or a Gold Glove fielder, but he sure gets the job done. Entering the 2007 season with a positive state of mind and a determined attitude, Holliday was ready for his best year yet, and he hasn’t disappointed. Batting .341, Matt complements his 15 homers with 69 RBI and 56 runs.
Slowly becoming into the guy who does it all, the All Star ranks near the top in numerous categories this season. He ranks 2nd in the NL in batting average and 4th in the MLB. With 122, Holliday is tied for first in his respective league in hits. He is tied for 3rd in RBI, 1st in total bases, and 3rd in doubles. His consistent play and big smile are just a few of the reasons why he is such a likeable player and a great man in general.
Even the media is forgetting the left fielder who has become a dark horse candidate for the National League MVP. While ESPN analysts are busy talking about home run records, summer league hoops, and arguing over “Who’s Now”, they should really be talking about the future, and the future is Matt Holliday.
The Colorado Rockies organization really found a gem when they picked Holliday. Usually a team known for their lack of wins, the Rockies have turned it around over the last few years and now are at a respectable .500 record.
If you didn’t know him before, now you certainly do along with countless other stats that only the “Schwab” will ever need in his lifetime. So next time you see Holliday take one yard on Sports Center, don’t just assume that it was a hanging curve, or Jose Mesa was pitching (that’s an automatic homer), because unlike Pamela Anderson’s upper body and Global Warming, this guy is for real.