Ducky Holmes (holmedu01)

From BR Bullpen

Ducky Holmes.jpg

James William Holmes

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 170 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

" '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.

Holmes was born in Des Moines, IA, the only major leaguer born in Iowa in 1869. Before he came to the majors he played several seasons in the Western Association.

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.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 1 (1899)

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Playoffs Notes
1906 Lincoln Ducklings Western League 75-74 2nd none
1907 Lincoln Tree Planters Western League 79-63 2nd none
1908 Sioux City Soos Western League 88-57 1st none League Champs
1909 Sioux City Soos Western League 94-60 1st (t) none
1910 Toledo Mud Hens American Association -- -- replaced by Harry Hinchman 6/4
1911 Mobile Sea Gulls Southern Association -- -- replaced by George Rohe 6/31
1912 Nebraska City Foresters MINK League -- -- replaced in August
Sioux City Packers Western League 6th none replaced George "Red" Andreas 8/9
1913 Sioux City Packers Western League -- -- replaced by Josh Clarke 6/7
1914 Butte Miners Union Association 44-40 3rd none
1916 Lincoln Tigers Western League 87-63 2nd none
1917 Lincoln Links Western League 83-64 2nd
1918 Sioux City Indians Western League 22-42 8th League suspended operations July 7
1922 Fort Smith Twins Western Association -- -- replaced by Roy Thomas
Beatrice Blues Nebraska State League 4th replaced Ralph Kirchner in July

Further Reading[edit]

  • 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.

Related Sites[edit]