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Thursday, March 11, 2010

David Holdridge, One More Year - 802

Read the revisited David Holdridge feature from September 2012, David Holdridge, Which Way

By spring training 1998, David Holdridge and his wife Erica talked about giving up on baseball. A former first-round draft pick, Holdridge had been in the minors for a decade, never seeing the bigs.

"My wife has been very supportive," Holdridge told The Seattle Post-Intelligencer that spring. "We've decided to give it another year and see what happens. Hopefully, it will work out."

Holdridge didn't make the Seattle squad that spring, but he did well enough to be remembered. That August, he got the call he'd been waiting for. He debuted with the Mariners at Tiger Stadium. He went on to pitch in six more games that year, for a total of 6.2 innings. That was it, but that was the majors.

Holdridge's pro career began 11 years earlier, taken by the Angels as the 31st pick in the first round out of Ocean View High in Huntington Beach. He had been slowed in high school by a shoulder injury, but rebounded to still be a top pick.

He spent a year with the Angels organization before being sent to the Phillies in exchange for Lance Parrish. He spent '89, '90 and '91 at high-A Clearwater and AA Reading, before being taken back by the Angels.

"All of our reports said he had a bad year but still had the same arm," Bill Bavasi, the Angels' director of minor league operations, told The Los Angeles Times in December 1991.

Holdridge's next five seasons were spent bouncing between high-A Palm Springs, AA Midland and AAA Vancouver, never reaching Anaheim. Signing with the Mariners in late 1996, Holbridge toured two more cities, AA Memphis and AAA Tacoma.

Then came 1998. Mariners manager Lou Pinella admitted to the P-I that Holdridge was only invited to spring training to fill out the roster. There were no expectations.

But then he made a good showing.

"He definitely has opened some eyes," Piniella told the P-I. "Whether he makes this club or not, he has made an impression and is one of the 'kids' we would watch carefully if, in fact, he is sent to Triple-A (Tacoma)."

Holdridge was sent to Tacoma, then in August, to Seattle.

Talking to the P-I in March, Holdridge's wife talked about life in the minor leagues, moving around from city to city. She compared it to some of her friends, whose parents were in the Marines and moved a lot.

But all the time they put in, it was for one goal, Erica Holdridge told the paper.

"Throwing just one pitch in the major leagues," she told the paper, "would mean everything to him. He wants it real bad."
1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 75/880 - 8.5%
Made the Majors: 45 - 60%
Never Made the Majors: 30 - 40%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 16
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 24

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