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Tommy Holmes
Born: March 29, 1917(1917-03-29)
Brooklyn, New York
Died: April 14, 2008 (aged 91)
Boca Raton, Florida
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
April 14, 1942 for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1952 for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Career statistics
Batting average     .302
Hits     1,507
Runs batted in     581

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Thomas Francis Holmes (March 29, 1917 — April 14, 2008) was an American right and center fielder and manager in Major League Baseball who played nearly his entire career for the Boston Braves. He batted over .300 every year from 1944 through 1948, peaking with a .352 mark in 1945 when he finished second in the National League batting race and was runner-up for the NL's Most Valuable Player Award, and retired with a career .302 average.

Holmes was born in Brooklyn, New York. One of the most popular players in the twilight years of the Boston Braves, "Kelly" Holmes finished second in MVP voting in the National League in 1945, when he had led the NL in hits (224), home runs (28) and doubles (47). That season, Holmes set a modern NL record that stood for 33 years by hitting safely in 37 consecutive games from June 6 through July 8 (Bill Dahlen and Willie Keeler had longer streaks in the 1890s). His mark was broken in 1978 by Pete Rose.

Holmes, who batted and threw left-handed, signed his first professional contract with the New York Yankees, but could not break into their talent-laden outfield of Joe DiMaggio, Tommy Henrich and Charlie Keller. After three over-.300 seasons with the Yanks' top farm team, the Newark Bears, he was traded to the Braves in February 1942. Given a regular major league job, Holmes batted over .300 for five consecutive seasons (1944-48). In 1948, he hit .325 in 139 games to help lead Boston to the NL pennant.

After the 1950 season, Holmes, 33, was named player-manager of the team's Class A Hartford farm club. On June 19, 1951, with the big-league Braves floundering in fifth place under manager Billy Southworth, Holmes was called back to Boston to manage his old team. He also remained on the active roster as a pinch hitter. It was hoped he could arouse the club, and bring fans back to Braves Field. But the team barely posted a winning record (48-47) under Holmes, and when they lost 22 of their first 35 games in 1952, Holmes was fired on May 31 and replaced by Charlie Grimm. The Braves finished seventh, drew only 281,000 fans, and left Boston for Milwaukee the following spring.

Holmes finished the 1952 season as a pinch hitter for the Brooklyn Dodgers, then managed in the Braves' and Brooklyn farm systems from 1953-57. He retired with a .302 lifetime batting average with 88 home runs in his 1,320-game, 11-year major league career, with a managing record of 61-69 (.469). He returned to the game in 1973 as director of amateur baseball relations for the New York Mets, a post he held for three decades until he retired at age 86.

In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter," consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Because of space limitations, the Irish team, including Holmes as right fielder, was omitted.

Holmes died of natural causes at the age of 91 at an assisted living facility in Boca Raton, Florida.

External links

Preceded by
Bill Nicholson
National League Home Run Champion
Succeeded by
Ralph Kiner
Preceded by
Billy Southworth
Boston Braves Managers
Succeeded by
Charlie Grimm


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