From Stephenville to Boston

Small town boy makes it big in major leagues


Photo Credit: Boston Red Sox

Brock Holt playing for the Stephenville Yellowjackets makes a throw across the baseball diamond while playing the infield.

Alfonso Moreno, Sports Writer

Music blaring. Hawkers yelling. People scurrying. Bats cracking.

 Doing what you love isn’t considered work when you’re passionate about what you do. From a small town kid playing baseball for his high school team to an adult  playing and winning in the world series, it was a dream turned into reality for Brock Holt.

  Brock Holt played baseball at Stephenville High and would later  acquire a scholarship to Navarro Junior College. He would transfer after his second year to Rice University where he would soon be drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. In 2012, Brock would finally realize his lifelong dream of playing in the major leagues.

  Playing baseball in a crazed football town in Stephenville, Texas wasn’t always easy for Holt. His big league dreams were virtually almost shut down as baseball in Stephenville was not a favorite of recruitment and was virtually unnoticed.

  “I always wanted to play in the Major Leagues and that was always my goal. I wanted to get there, and I was going to do everything in my power to make it happen. I can’t say that I saw myself in the majors while I was at Stephenville though,” Brock said.  “I didn’t see myself in the majors until I got into college and minor league ball and started playing against better competition.

  Brock’s mom, GayLynn Holt, always knew her son loved baseball more than anything and had a passion for it.

  “ I’m not really sure what it was that made baseball stand out for Brock. Ever since he was a toddler, he loved watching baseball. He would get mad if we changed the channel from a baseball game,” GayLynn said. “He just didn’t play it as a toddler because he thought it was dumb hitting it off a T.”

  GayLynn says Brock had always been intent to play baseball in the major leagues, and didn’t think about life without it.

  “Brock’s plan for his life was always to be a professional baseball player,” GayLynn said. “When people would tell him that he needed a Plan B, he would say that he didn’t have one. He was going to be a professional baseball player”

  Brock was smaller than the average size of a baseball player and was almost half the size of most of his teammates. He was still considered as one of the best on his High School’s team. He would eventually keep his dreams at reach by getting a scholarship to Navarro where he played his freshman and sophomore year and would eventually transfer to Rice. He was eligible for the draft in his junior year at Rice which was also his first season to play with them. He decided to take the opportunity and go into the draft.

  “It was a tough decision. I loved playing college baseball and I wanted to graduate with a degree from Rice, ”Brock said. ”But I wanted to play professional baseball more than anything. And I finally had an opportunity to do that. It was hard to pass up.”

  In 2005, the Pittsburgh Pirates made Brock’s dreams a reality by drafting him in the ninth round, making him the 265th player chosen.

  “Seeing him get drafted was incredible,” GayLyn said. “When he was in the 5th grade I remember him telling me one night that he believed some of the greatest moments in his life would be to sign a professional baseball contract. Seeing him living his dream is all a parent wants for their child.

  Brock played minor league baseball and grew in the Pirates organization. He made his major league debut on September 1, 2012. The Pirates would trade Brock to the Boston Red Sox where he would find his success and eventually win the world series.

  “I was upset at first. The unexpected was scary,” Brock said. “Going from a team like the Pirates who normally give their young players an opportunity to play to a team like Boston who can go out and get the players they want. I didn’t know what to expect but it turned out to be better than I could have ever imagined.”

  Brock’s hometown recognized his success. The Stephenville high school baseball team retired his baseball number not long ago, and Brock was appreciative.

  “I found out about a year ago. I wasn’t expecting it and it is something I am extremely humbled by,” Brock said. “That is a huge honor, and I’m thankful to Stephenville High School for doing something like that for me.”

 His mom GayLynn is proud of his accomplishments and says his determination was what helped him get through tough times to get to where he wanted to be.

  “Seeing him succeed has been so exciting. It hasn’t been easy. There were times he would get discouraged but his determination and perseverance paid off,” GayLynn said. “We are so proud of his accomplishments but even more proud of the man he’s become in the process.”

  Brock is currently playing his 6th season in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox. He was named an All-Star in 2015 and became a world champion in 2018. Although Brock has achieved his dream, he keeps working towards new goals and doesn’t settle.

  “I’m still working every day to get to where I want to be,” Brock said. “ I don’t ever want to get complacent or feel like I’ve made it. I’ve still got a lot of work to do! But I am very thankful for everything I’ve been given up to this point.”