Brock Holt has been a marvel to watch this season.
After languishing at Pawtucket for the early part of the season, the left-handed hitting Holt has, so far, shown his Pawtucket slash line of .315/.380/.454 is no illusion. With Boston, the remarkable Holt is .317/.363/.439 while playing numerous positions – some for the first time at the MLB level.
Holt, now age twenty-six, has at least temporarily addressed the lead-off situation with his numbers and ability to put in some quite positive at bats. Holt has also displayed some agility on the base paths and is hitting .350 against left-handed pitching. Holt’s gritty style of play has impressed fans and teammates.
In 1957 Bob Hazle was a twenty-six year old outfielder in the Milwaukee Braves farm system. Hazle was plying his trade at Wichita and hitting .279 when he got a surprising call-up to the parent club. So began the legend of “The Hurricane.”
The Braves were looking for some outfield help. Hazle, like Brock, a left-handed bat, was needed to share the duties with veteran Andy Pafko. That began one of the great runs by an unknown in baseball history.
Hazle slashed a stunning .403/.477/.649 with seven home runs and 27 RBI in 41 games and 134 at bats. Hazel even managed three walks and a hit in six plate appearances against left-handed pitching.
Hazle finished off 1957 with two hits in 14 AB’s in the World Series. But both those hits came in the decisive seventh game victory by the Braves.
Hurricanes will be destructive, but for a short period. So was Bob “Hurricane” Hazle, who finished up a three-year career with a slash of .310/.390/.467 – greatly inflated by his remarkable 1957 run.
Will Brock Holt be a current day “Hurricane?” I doubt it. Both share the same initials, but that is about it. Holt has hit in the minors and has hit in the majors. Unlike Hazle there is no fear factor in allowing him to hit against a portsider. Nevertheless it is best to keep in mind a great run during a season does not make a career. Just ask Lou Clinton.