Brock Holt got a little choked up Saturday afternoon while being honored by having his Stephenville High School baseball jersey number retired.
The former Yellow Jacket standout, currently a free agent after playing the last seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox, spoke to the large crowd about his Stephenville roots. He also gave a nod to his parents, Joel and Gaylynn, who still live here.
“I am who I am because of this city,” Holt stated, before adding a proud his shout-out to his parents, saying, “Everything I tried to do growing up, is to make y’all proud.”
As a freshman at SHS in 2003, Holt was on the 8-4A baseball all-district baseball team as the co-winner of the league’s Newcomer of the Year award.
Holt, a 31-year-old utility infielder/outfielder, was a key member of Boston’s 2018 World Series championship team and an American League All-Star in 2015. He played sparingly for Boston during its 2013 World Series championship season, but was not on the postseason roster. He was named as the team’s Rookie of the Year award in 2014, and received the club’s Jackie Jensen Spirit Award in 2018.
“I’ve been very blessed to do some of the things I’ve done in my life,” said the versatile Holt, who was the first player ever to have started games at seven different positions and make the All-State Game. “This is something that means a lot to me.”
The ceremony, which included City Council member Alan Nix presenting Holt with a proclamation from the city of Stephenville in recognition of his outstanding achievements, was originally set to be held at James T. Young baseball field but was moved indoors to Gandy Gym because of rain.
SHS head baseball coach Justin Swenson came up with the idea to retire the number Holt wore with the Yellow Jackets — No. 1. The only other Yellow Jacket baseball jersey number ever retired belonged to Eric Everett, who died as a result of a traffic accident while still an SHS student. Everett would have graduated with the SHS Class of 1986, according to Swenson.
Swenson approached approached Athletic Director Jerod Womack with the idea of retiring Holt’s jersey number, and they contacted Holt with the news.
“It’s been in the works for a while, but it was a surprise,” Holt told the E-T after the ceremony and an extended meet-and-greet session that included numerous autographs for SHS fans — kids and adults alike. “It’s just a cool honor.”
Holt said although his future may not be decided until all of his free agency offers are received, he definitely wants to continue playing baseball.
“I’d like to play as long as I can,” said Holt, who has a home in Boston as well as in Midlothian, where he resides with his wife, Lakyn, and their 3-year-old son, Griffin. “I’ve always wanted to do what I’m doing. It has been a dream come true, and a blessing. There has been quite a bit of interest.”
After graduating from Stephenville High School in 2006, Holt played baseball two seasons at Navarro College (2007-2008). He played for Rice University in Houston for one season, as a junior. He made the NCAA All-Regional Team with a .348 batting average, and was selected in the ninth round of the amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Holt, who the Pirates traded to the Red Sox in 2012, has a combined batting average of .271 in his eight Major League seasons, including the last seven years with Boston. He hit .297 with 14 doubles and drove in 31 runs in 87 games last season with Boston.
In October 2018, Holt became the first player in Major League Baseball history to hit for the cycle (single, double, triple and home run) in a postseason game. He was 4-for-6 at the plate that night with five runs batted in as the Red Sox crushed the New York Yankees, 16-1 in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. He also hit for the cycle in a regular-season game in 2015.
Holt was the Red Sox nominee for Major League Baseball’s prestigious Roberto Clemente Award nominee for the 2019 season, which honors one player each year for exceptional community service work.