Sports Spectrum Weekly

Jackson Holliday goes No. 1 in MLB draft to Orioles, aims to glorify God through baseball

Jackson Holliday entered an exclusive group Sunday night, becoming the second son of a major leaguer to be taken first overall in the MLB draft. The other is Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.

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Surrounded by family and friends, the son of former seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday watched as the Baltimore Orioles made him the first high schooler to go No. 1 since 2017. He joins a collection of promising young players in the Orioles’ organization, led by catcher Adley Rutschman and pitcher Grayson Rodriguez.

“I want to be the best player, and I want to honor the Orioles for selecting me,” he told MLB.com. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to make it to the Major Leagues and have a great career for them and for their fans. I’m very excited. And I always compete.”

Holliday hit .685 in his senior season at Stillwater High School in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and broke Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto’s national record with 89 hits. Holliday was named high school player of the year this past season by Baseball America and Perfect Game, and Orioles general manager Mike Elias loves what Holliday offers as a five-tool shortstop who hits left-handed.

“The upside for him is enormous,” Elias said. “I mean, it’s a potential star playing shortstop, batting in the middle of the order, doing so for a very long time. In some regard, I don’t know that the ceiling gets much higher than somebody with that profile.”

Growing up in big-league clubhouses, Holliday benefitted from all the exposure to the sport and having a dad who could help him continue to develop as a player. He joined his parents on Sports Spectrum’s “Table Forty” podcast in October to talk about his baseball journey.

Holliday also credits his parents with introducing him to the Lord and building the foundation for his faith. Prior to the draft, he spoke to His Huddle about his faith journey and the impact his parents have had on him.

“Faith has always been important to me,” he said. “I’m so grateful to be raised in a Christian home and have such great examples around me of how to be a follower of Christ.”

While it’s unlikely at this point, Holliday could still choose to follow through on his commitment to Oklahoma State and play in college instead of starting his professional career. The Cowboys are coached by his uncle, Josh, and his dad serves as an assistant.

If Holliday does attend college, he would not be eligible for the draft again until after his junior year. Just one No. 1 overall pick has not signed with the team that selected him since 1983 (Brady Aiken).

Wherever his baseball journey takes him, Holliday intends to continue using the sport to bring honor and glory to God.

“Faith plays a major role in baseball and my life,” Jackson told His Huddle. “I want to honor the Lord in everything that I do and I try to represent that on the field, through my actions and how I carry myself on and off the field.”

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