While Jackson Holliday chooses whether to launch his professional baseball career or play at Oklahoma State, he faces another decision that isn’t so serious.
Where should he display all of the awards?
As the Hollidays settle into their newly constructed home, their eldest son isn’t sure where he wants to store the hardware he earned after his stellar senior baseball season at Stillwater High. He’s stockpiling a collection that complements the array of honors given to his father, seven-time MLB All-Star Matt Holliday.
“We’ve got my dad’s awards scattered all over the house, so there’s not really a designated spot yet,” Jackson Holliday told the News Press. “We need to try to build that in. Maybe just put (mine) in my room.”
Like a longtime collector of baseball cards or rocks or stamps, Holliday is adding myriad items to his trove of awards, mementos that tell a story – and he just graduated from high school.
Two baseball gloves, along with two glimmering trophies, represent his back-to-back American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings High School Gold Glove honors. His Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year award matches the prize his father received in 1998.
Baseball talent runs through Holliday’s family, but that didn’t mean awards would automatically drop into his hands. The Pioneers’ standout shortstop is receiving the laurels of his focus on improvement.
“During the offseason, I worked on getting stronger and cleaning up my swing to where I could perform at a high level,” Holliday said. “And all of the hard work that me and my dad put in finally paid off.”
Nearly two months after Holliday’s prep career ended with a playoff loss to state champion Owasso, the achievements keep rolling in.
On Friday, Holliday was named the Perfect Game USA National Player of the Year. He can include that in a list of well-known organizations that have tabbed him as the high school player of the year: Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and Prep Baseball Report.
Add in the Gatorade Oklahoma and Rawlings Gold Glove awards, and that’s a rare combination of accolades.
It’s a concrete reflection of his out-of-the-ordinary season.
As a senior, Holliday posted a .685 batting average, striking out only seven times. With 89 hits, he shattered Carl Albert alumnus J.T. Realmuto’s national single-season record, and Holliday also established himself as a defensive force, recording a .980 fielding percentage while limiting his errors to three.
As baseball organizations tracked those numbers, Holliday started receiving the news.
He hears about his awards in a variety of ways. Sometimes, he finds out from Jimmy Harris, his high school baseball coach. Other times, someone sends a text message to Holliday’s father, and occasionally, Holliday is notified via Twitter.
The frequency of those announcements could lead someone to take them for granted, but Holliday maintains his gratitude. He described Perfect Game, the organization that most recently honored him, as a “huge deal.”
“I found out about that one probably, like, three days ago,” Holliday said Friday afternoon. “I’ve known about probably all of them just like a day or two before. That’s a neat one to win.”
With the slew of honors, it’s no surprise if Holliday scrolls through Twitter and sees his face in posts circulating among fans. On July 17, those baseball aficionados will turn their attention to the MLB Draft, where Holliday is widely projected as a top-5 selection.
Some mock drafts list him as high as No. 1. A range of factors will determine where he lands, but every Player of the Year distinction works in his favor.
And each title adds a piece to the Hollidays’ collection as if they’re building a family Baseball Hall of Fame. With Jackson preparing to compete on a larger stage and his younger brother, Ethan, gaining attention as a prospect after his freshman season at Stillwater, the haul of awards is likely far from complete.
“It’s cool, definitely, to see that (happen), getting to play amongst a lot of really good players,” Holliday said. “And there’s so many high school players, so it really is an honor to be able to win a lot of these awards.”