Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Gleeman: John Holdzkom goes from anonymous podcast caller to the big leagues

Tremendous!

Two years ago (October 16, 2012 to be exact) I was listening to Chelsea Peretti’s podcast when an anonymous 24-year-old caller named “John” told her the story of how his once-promising baseball career went downhill and he blew through his $210,000 signing bonus after being drafted by the Mets out of high school… I did a little internet detective work and discovered the caller was 24-year-old right-hander John Holdzkom, a former Mets fourth-round draft pick who at the time was pitching for them at Single-A. They later released him and Holdzkom had to play independent ball just to keep his dream alive.

He pitched for two different independent league teams this year alone, but then the Pirates signed him and sent Holdzkom to Double-A. He thrived there, kept pitching well following a promotion to Triple-A, and then got the call up to the big leagues as part of September roster expansion.

Last night Holdzkom, now 26 years old, made his MLB debut. And it was a helluva debut, too: He struck out all three batters he faced in a scoreless eighth inning against the Cardinals…

I just hope Holdzkom calls back in to Chelsea Peretti’s podcast to update his story.

The District Attorney Posted: September 03, 2014 at 12:49 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: independent leagues, john holdzkom, mets, minor leagues, pirates, television

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. esseff Posted: September 03, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4784599)
He struck out all three batters he faced in a scoreless eighth inning against the Cardinals…


And also was part of a double play*! That's not easy to do.


(*-yes I know that he isn't credited statistically in the DP)
   2. SouthSideRyan Posted: September 03, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4784625)
I had some hopes for his brother(I assume, same birthplace) Lincoln when he was in the Cubs organization as a relief prospect. Seems he was released without much fanfare.
   3. salvomania Posted: September 03, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4784666)
He looked really good last night. And he's 6'-9".
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 03, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4784675)
Time for me to get my arm loose I suppose.
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 03, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4784696)
In 2009 or 2010 I honest-to-god saw someone in a Lincoln Holdzkom jersey at a Pirates game. It must have been from some spring-training game-worn giveaway thing, since he was in the organization for one year and never got above AA.
   6. The District Attorney Posted: September 05, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4786141)
Longer piece about Holdzkom.
“I know you probably don’t have a roster spot. But I’ve been released so I wanted to check and see,” read Holdzkom’s text to Amarillo manager Bobby Brown, just four months before he made his big league debut... Brown didn’t have a roster spot. But he thought he knew where he could find one. In a similar situation a year before, Wichita manager Kevin Hooper had called him looking to find a spot for Holdzkom when he was getting ready to release him because of a roster crunch.

Brown found a YouTube video of Holdzkom pitching for New Zealand in the World Baseball Classic. The broadcasters were speaking Chinese, but Brown saw enough to take Holdzkom sight unseen.

This time San Angelo manager Doc Edwards didn’t even have to see a video. Brown and Edwards have a long-running understanding. If Brown knows about a useful player he can’t fit on his roster, he’ll send him to Edwards to see if he can fit in the smaller United League... So Brown got back to Holdzkom with the best option he could give him: take a job pitching at one of the lowest levels of independent baseball for $600 a month or give up and head home. Holdzkom took the job. A little more than three months later, he was pitching in the big leagues...

And once he’d worked his way back to Amarillo this spring, if Holdzkom had needed just a few more moments to get up and get loose in the bullpen, [Mal] Fichman, scouting for the Pirates, would have never noticed him... [Fichman had] sat through seven innings, it was starting to rain and there were tornadoes popping up around the area... But before he could finish packing he took a glance out to the Amarillo bullpen. He doesn’t really know why, because in Sioux Falls, you can’t see anything in the bullpens. The bullpens are nestled in corners behind the seats, so all you usually see is the top of a pitcher’s head as he warms up.

When he looked out there this time, he could see the word “Amarillo” on the pitcher’s jersey.

“You don’t see a lot of independent league players who are 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8,” Fichman said.

The stopwatch went back in the cupholder. The papers came back out and Fichman turned his radar gun back on...
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 05, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4786152)
This time San Angelo manager Doc Edwards didn’t even have to see a video.


Doc Edwards? The guy who was retired and a coach for the Phillies in 1970, when all their catchers got hurt and he had to suit up and play some games?

Yep, he's the manager of San Angelo, at age 77.
   8. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 05, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4786208)
Longer piece about Holdzkom.


Holy ####, that's a great piece.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
greenback changed his travels
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP 20 Feb. 2017: Baseball in a Time of Politics
(1900 - 6:29pm, Feb 26)
Last: Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant

NewsblogFull Count » Year after his career-changing meeting, Drew Pomeranz has no interest in returning to bullpen
(4 - 6:26pm, Feb 26)
Last: Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan

NewsblogOT - December 2016 NBA thread
(2555 - 5:41pm, Feb 26)
Last: Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play

NewsblogAZ Snakepit: If Zach Greinke were a Free Agent today, what would he get ?
(17 - 5:09pm, Feb 26)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogRio Ruiz has dropped 30 pounds in 16 months, boosted his stock
(5 - 5:07pm, Feb 26)
Last: DCA

NewsblogMets’ Duda, Who Had Back Trouble in 2016, Is Now Bothered by His Hips - The New York Times
(7 - 4:51pm, Feb 26)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogHow to Fix Arbitration for Relievers | FanGraphs Baseball
(1 - 4:48pm, Feb 26)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: January 2016 Soccer Thread
(285 - 4:24pm, Feb 26)
Last: AuntBea

NewsblogWith Each Hit, Rockies’ D.J. LeMahieu Shows Cubs’ Epstein What He Gave Up On - The New York Times
(4 - 4:16pm, Feb 26)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogBehind MLB chemistry: How teams try to sniff out ‘bad guys’ | New York Post
(10 - 3:29pm, Feb 26)
Last: Dock Ellis

Hall of MeritWillie Davis
(40 - 3:18pm, Feb 26)
Last: Dr. Chaleeko

NewsblogAngels figure to run more this season, just like Mike Scioscia likes it - The Orange County Register
(3 - 3:17pm, Feb 26)
Last: A triple short of the cycle

NewsblogCan Bud Black break the curse of Coors Field for Colorado Rockies pitchers?
(9 - 2:29pm, Feb 26)
Last: Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66)

NewsblogPosnanski | A Baseball Challenge!
(62 - 1:39pm, Feb 26)
Last: Baldrick

Hall of Merit2018 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(145 - 12:53pm, Feb 26)
Last: Carl Goetz

Page rendered in 0.3270 seconds
47 querie(s) executed