Ducky Holmes (holmedu01)
James William Holmes
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 6", Weight 170 lb.
- Debut August 8, 1895
- Final Game September 29, 1905
- Born January 28, 1869 in Des Moines, IA USA
- Died August 5, 1932 in Truro, IA USA
" 'Oh! Ducky, you're a lobster', someone shouted from the grandstand . . . and . . . a Tammany henchman of Andrew Freedman, the Giants owner, called out 'You are rotten, Ducky - that is what we let you go for!' . . . 'Well, I'm glad I don't have to work for no sheeny anymore', Holmes retorted. . . .Freedman . . . shouted: 'Lynch, I want that man thrown out of these grounds. He's insulted me.' " - an account of the famous Freedman-Holmes incident in the book Where They Ain't: The Fabled Life and Untimely Death of the Original Baltimore Orioles
James "Ducky" Holmes played ten seasons in the big leagues. The first half of his major league career was in the National League in the 19th Century, while the second half was in the American League in the 20th Century. He is remembered for making an anti-Jewish slur at Andrew Freedman, owner of the New York Giants in 1898, something which caused Holmes to get suspended but also caused a lot of animosity against Freedman when he insisted action be taken against Holmes. Holmes had previously played for the 1897 Giants owned by Freedman.
He spent 1900 with Detroit when the American League, in its first season, was a minor league circuit. He then stayed with the 1901 Detroit Tigers as the 1901 American League became a competing major league.
Ducky was not a particular strong hitter, except with the 1904 Chicago White Sox for whom he posted a 154 OPS+ in 251 at-bats. His OPS+ would have been fourth-best in the 1904 American League if he had had enough at-bats.
Holmes mostly played left field (564 games) although he also appeared often in right field (285 games). He finished as high as third in the league in stolen bases, in 1903, and as high as third in the league in doubles, in 1899.
An obituary states that he began pro ball at Beatrice, NE in 1900 (although this date is clearly incorrect since he was in the majors by 1895). He left the majors when he had a knee injury that he thought would prevent him playing his best. He bought the Lincoln minor league team and later owned the Sioux City team. He did some scouting and umpiring.
Holmes also managed for many years in the minors.
Outside of baseball, he worked in "railroad services" and was employed by the government during World War I as a physical fitness director.
He is not to be confused with Howard "Ducky" Holmes, another major leaguer who was usually called Ducky Holmes.
- 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 1 (1899)
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
- Joan Wendl Thomas: "All the Duckys in a Row: In Search of the Real Ducky Holmes", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 48, Nr. 1, Spring 2019, pp. 29-36.