Of all the baseball players to ever come through Gulfport High School, Jonathan Holder is the only one to ever make it to the big leagues. His success is an ongoing tribute to his alma mater where he’s been given the ultimate tribute in return.
On Saturday afternoon, the Admirals held a special pre-game ceremony for Holder, who became the first player from Gulfport to ever have his number retired. His family accepted his old high school jersey framed in a shadow box on his behalf. His number 23 is now a permanent fixture out on the wall in left-center.
If there was a way, Holder certainly would have been there, but he’s currently in Tampa, Florida for spring training with the New York Yankees.Even from a distance, the Mississippi State alum is still humbled by the gesture.
Galen Doucet caught Jonathan Holder in high school and they graduated together in 2011. He said, “They threw him behind the plate as like a backup catcher, and so he wanted to pitch and was never really that premiere guy until he kind of burst onto the scene our sophomore year and kind of got thrust into the fire. And from there, history kind of wrote itself out for him. I mean his legacy here, definitely he left a mark on it for sure.”
“I had some dang good times in high school, and that's where I met my wife and that's where I started playing ball and I learned a lot of stuff there. So a lot of emotions, but just excitement. And I think that's really cool that I'm the first player to come from high school like that, a big high school, to make it to where everybody dreams to be, and I hope that opens the gates for everybody,” said Holder.
Gulfport will also honor Holder once the major league season is over at a football game in the fall.