Walter Henry Holke (Union Man)
- Bats Both, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1½", Weight 185 lb.
- Debut October 6, 1914
- Final Game September 23, 1925
- Born December 25, 1892 in St. Louis, MO USA
- Died October 12, 1954 in St. Louis, MO USA
Walter Holke played eleven seasons in the majors, almost exclusively at first base.
A native of St. Louis, Holke started in the minors in 1912 with the Peoria Distillers. He got his first shot in the big leagues late in the 1914 campaign with the New York Giants after having hit .315 for the Spokane Indians. He went back to the minors with the Rochester Hustlers of the International League in 1915 and 1916, and after hitting .344 in the latter season, he was back with the Giants. He hit .351 in 34 games for New York that year and was in the majors as a regular for most of the next decade.
Holke was the starting first baseman for New York in 1917 as his club won the National League pennant. In that year's World Series, manager John McGraw batted him seventh in each game, and he hit .286 as his club fell to the Chicago White Sox in six games.
Prior to the 1919 season, Holke was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for another good-fielding first baseman, Hal Chase. Three days later, he was again dealt, this time to the Boston Braves. Even though his hitting was not top-notch (often in the .290 range), for the Braves his batting averages were often the best or near the best on the club. He had the highest batting average among the regulars in both 1919 and 1920and came close in 1922. He starred defensively during this time, recording 42 putouts in a 26-inning game against the Brooklyn Dodgers on May 1st, 1920.
Following the 1922 campaign, Holke's contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies. Over the next two years, he hit at least .300 on teams that lost around 100 games each year and had team batting averages of .278 and .275. In an October 6th, 1923 game against the Braves, he hit into the first recorded unassisted triple play in NL history (accomplished by Ernie Padgett).
Holke was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds in 1925 and ended his big league career with the team that year. After his major league days, he went back to the minors, playing for the Indianapolis Indians from 1926 to 1928. As player-manager of the Hazleton Mountaineers in 1930, he hit .400 with 20 home runs and slugged .752 in 77 games. He played in the minors through 1932 and managed several years before quitting in 1933 to work on his 35 acre farm in DeSoto, Missouri. He later returned to baseball and managed in the minors for several more seasons. He was also a St. Louis Browns coach in 1940.
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1929||Quincy Indians||Three-I League||82-56||1st||none League Champs|
|1930||Hazleton Mountaineers||New York-Penn League||63-76||7th||New York Yankees||none|
|1931||Quincy Indians||Three-I League||67-49||2nd||League Champs|
|1932||Terre Haute Tots||Three-I League||42-27||1st||none||League disbanded July 15|
|1933||Fort Worth Cats||Texas League||14-22||--||Indianapolis Indians||--||replaced by Jake Atz on May 18|
|1937||Terre Haute Tots||Three-I League||15-38||--||St. Louis Browns||Team disbanded on July 3|
|Mayfield Clothiers||KITTY League||4th||St. Louis Browns||League Champs||replaced Clarence Mitchell 8/14|
|1938||Springfield Browns||Three-I League||63-60||4th||St. Louis Browns||Lost in 1st round|
|1939||Springfield Browns||Three-I League||65-55||4th||St. Louis Browns||League Champs|
|1941||St. Joseph Ponies||Western Association||10-22||--||St. Louis Browns||--|| replaced by Gus Albright on June 3 |
when team moved to Carthage
|1942||Hutchinson Pirates||Western Association||50-76||6th||Pittsburgh Pirates|