In just a few days, St. Louis Cardinals All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday will head to Jupiter, Fla., for spring training to begin his 10th major league season.
The product of a baseball family, Holliday's brother, Josh, is now the baseball coach at Oklahoma State, where his father, Tom, previously held the same position.
Matt Holliday has had eight consecutive seasons with at least a .295 batting average, 19 home runs and 75 runs batted in. For his career, he has totaled 1,525 hits with a .313 average, 229 home runs and 872 RBIs and six All-Star appearances.
So it looks like that baseball thing is working out OK for him and his family, which includes wife Leslee, sons Jackson, 9, and Ethan, 5, and daughter Gracyn, 3.
But the questions always lingered as Holliday came up through the minor leagues. Outsiders kept waiting for him to leave baseball and return to be a college quarterback.
An All-State football player and gifted passer at Stillwater High, many fans thought he'd ultimately end up quarterbacking Oklahoma State. And the questions followed him, maybe a little longer than you might expect.
I had to answer that question a lot. I looked at it as a compliment. I always thought it was pretty neat that people still thought I could potentially play at a major college football program.
But there were times after a couple years in the major leagues when I thought, you know, this question should have died out, but it hasn't. I've got a couple years in the major leagues and people are asking me if I miss football, or if I ever think about going back and playing. I'm thinking, ‘No, I'm doing all right. I'll probably stick this deal out and see how it turns out.' (laughs) But I always looked at it as a nice compliment.
The trial-and-error coming up through the minors was always difficult. You're a kid growing up. Then all the bus rides and long travel. But you look back on it, and it makes you appreciate some of the things you went through in the minor leagues, and some of the failure.
There's a lot of sleepless nights in the minor leagues, and a lot of failure. You're just trying to make it or figure out if you're supposed to be doing something else.
We were married young. So I'm trying to figure out how I'm gonna take care of my wife if this doesn't work out. Those things, going through those struggles, really made me grow into the person I am.