Tony Kemp, DFAed for Jackson Holliday, rooting on Orioles wunderkind

Tony Kemp had no ill will toward his Orioles replacement.

In fact, he was wholeheartedly rooting for Jackson Holliday during his Baltimore debut.

On Tuesday night, the Orioles called up Holliday, the top prospect in baseball who has torn up Triple-A to start 2024.

Jackson Holliday is making his Orioles debut at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

And, in the process, the team designated Kemp for assignment to make room for the heralded infielder.

Kemp took to social media on Wednesday before the son of former seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday made his debut at Fenway Park against the Red Sox, and not only did he say he was going to cheer on the second baseman, but he also shared a story from his college days at Vanderbilt that showed his connection to the Holliday family.

“In the fall of 2010, our college had a series against the Longhorns for a 3 game set,” Kemp wrote on X. “Our hitting coach at the time was Josh Holliday and his brother, Matt, brought his kid to our early practice. I remember watching his son @J_Holliday7 with a sweet lefty swing. Go get em’ kid!

Kemp had signed a one-year deal with the Orioles in late March and went 0-for-9 with a walk and run scored in five games before getting DFA’d.

He now makes room for the 20-year-old Holliday, who had taken the minor leagues by storm after getting drafted by the Orioles first overall during the 2022 MLB Draft.

Holliday made it all the way to Triple-A during his torrid 2023 campaign — his first full year in the minors — and nearly made the big league club out of spring training this year after hitting .311 with a .954 OPS and two homers, but he was ultimately sent back to Triple-A Norfolk.

Tony Kemp was DFA’d to make room for Jackson Holliday. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Unsurprisingly, he mashed in 10 games in the International League, putting up a .333/.482/.595 slash line with two homers and seven total extra-base hits.

Before the game, the Orioles announced Holliday would be wearing No. 7, which was the same number his dad wore with the Cardinals and Yankees.

It also happened to be the same number Cal Ripken Sr. donned as manager of the Orioles.

His son, Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., was ecstatic over the news.

Jackson Holliday is the top prospect in baseball. Getty Images

“Our family is thrilled that @J_Holliday7 will be wearing dad’s #7,” he wrote on X on Wednesday. “Excited to watch him play!”

For his part, Holliday said he was excited for his debut in Boston.

“Nervous? I mean, a little bit. Not too bad,” Holliday told reporters before the game, according to the Associated Press. “I’m not as nervous as I thought I would be. I’m more excited. Kind of changed the mind frame from nervous to excitement. But yeah, I’m really excited.”


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