EAST GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T Department of Athletics will retire the baseball jersey number of Al Holland, Sr., as announced by Director of Athletics Earl M. Hilton III on Thursday.
The jersey retirement ceremony will take place Saturday, February 8 at the annual 1st Pitch Banquet hosted by N.C. A&T baseball team at Deese Ballroom inside the new student center on campus at 6 p.m. Holland, who was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, will become only the second student-athlete in N.C. A&T history to have his number officially retired.
Holland will join former NBA player, coach and executive Al Attles, who was recently inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, as the only two Aggies to have the prestigious honor bestowed upon him. Attles had his No. 22 jersey retired by Aggie Athletics in 2015 for the sport of men’s basketball.
“What Mr. Holland accomplished as a student-athlete at North Carolina A&T was remarkable,” said Hilton. “He is not only one of the best pitchers to ever wear an A&T baseball uniform, but statistically, he is arguably one of the best collegiate pitchers of all time.
Mr. Holland used the platform North Carolina A&T provided for him to pitch 10 years in Major League Baseball, and he represented North Carolina A&T on the biggest stage in baseball, the World Series. He is truly worthy of this honor, and we are looking forward to the ceremony.”
Holland wore the No. 17 during his career at N.C. A&T (1972-75). Holland threw four no-hitters during his career, one in each year he pitched in Aggieland. His no-hitter as a freshman in 1972 against N.C. Central including 25 strikeouts. Holland finished the season with 143 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.54 as a freshman.
The following year, N.C. A&T’s last in the NAIA, he recorded an ERA of 1.03 with 102 strikeouts. N.C. A&T moved up to NCAA status the following year, but Holland remained dominant. He posted a 0.95 ERA and 105 strikeouts as a junior and a 0.26 ERA and 118 strikeouts as a senior. Holland also played football during his time at N.C. A&T.
He finished his collegiate career as a two-time NAIA All-American. Holland made his MLB debut on Sept. 5, 1977, in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. He would go on to finish seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1980 as a member of the San Francisco Giants.
His breakout season came in 1983 when he won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award and the TSN Fireman of the Year Award while finishing in the top-10 in the Cy
Young and National League MVP voting.
As a member of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983, he saved Games 1 and 4 of the National League Championship Series. He also saved Game 1 of the 1983 World Series for the Phillies. In 1984, Holland was selected to play in the All-Star Game. Holland, 67, was inducted into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Hall of Fame in 1993.
Courtesy of NCA&T Sports Information