Wattie Holm

Last updated
Wattie Holm
Born:(1901-12-28)December 28, 1901
Peterson, Iowa
Died: May 19, 1950(1950-05-19) (aged 48)
Everly, Iowa
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
April 15,  1924, for the  St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
August 8,  1932, for the  St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average .275
Home runs 6
Runs batted in 174

Roscoe Albert Holm (December 28, 1901 – May 19, 1950) was a Major League Baseball player. Holm played for the St. Louis Cardinals for seven seasons between 1924 and 1932, missing the 1930 and 1931 seasons. Holm was a member of the Cardinals first World Series in 1926. He batted and threw right-handed. Holm suffered from mental illness later in life; nearly two decades after leaving professional baseball, he killed his wife shortly before killing himself.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901, respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team in St. Louis, Missouri, United States

The St. Louis Cardinals are an American professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. Busch Stadium has been their home ballpark since 2006. One of the nation's oldest and most successful professional baseball clubs, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, the second-most in Major League Baseball and the most in the National League. Their 19 National League pennants rank third in NL history. In addition, St. Louis has won 14 division titles in the East and Central divisions.


Early life

Holm was born in Peterson, Iowa, and as a child he moved with his family to Alton, Iowa. Holm received his nickname, "Wattie", when he was young. [1] Holm's father encouraged him to pursue dental school. attended the University of Iowa for a year before leaving to pursue a baseball career.

Peterson, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Peterson is a city in Clay County, Iowa, United States. The population was 334 in the 2010 census, a decline from 372 in the 2000 census.

Alton, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Alton is a city in Sioux County, Iowa, United States, along the Floyd River. The population was 1,216 at the 2010 census.

University of Iowa Public research university in Iowa City, Iowa, United States

The University of Iowa is a public research university in Iowa City, Iowa. Founded in 1847, it is the oldest and the second largest university in the state. The University of Iowa is organized into 11 colleges offering more than 200 areas of study and seven professional degrees.

Holm married the former Ella Powell in Spencer, Iowa, in 1923. She was a schoolteacher. [2] They had a son named Robert and a daughter named Margaret.

Spencer, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Spencer is a city in the state of Iowa, and the county seat of Clay County. It is located at the confluence of the Little Sioux and Ocheyedan rivers. The population was 11,233 in the 2010 census, a decline from 11,317 in the 2000 census. Spencer has a notable Clay County Fair, held annually in September, which averages more than 300,000 visitors each year.


Holm made his major league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1924, after playing minor league baseball at Syracuse the season before. He spent much of his career back and forth between the major leagues and the minor leagues, but he stayed in the major leagues between 1926 and 1929. His best season came in 1927, when Holm had a .286 batting average and drove in 66 runs while playing 110 games for St. Louis.

Batting average (baseball)

In baseball, the batting average (BA) is the number of hits divided by at bats. It is usually reported to three decimal places and read without the decimal: A player with a batting average of .300 is "batting three-hundred." If necessary to break ties, batting averages could be taken beyond the .001 measurement. In this context, a .001 is considered a "point," such that a .235 batter is 5 points higher than a .230 batter.

In the fall of 1929, the Cardinals advised Holm to have surgery on his tonsils and nose. He refused at the time, but underwent the procedure in the spring of 1930, causing a delay in his preparation for the 1930 season. [3] He played for the Houston Buffaloes in 1930 and the Rochester Red Wings in 1931.

The Houston Buffaloes, Houston Buffalos, or Buffs were an American minor league baseball team, and were the first minor league team to be affiliated with a Major League franchise, which was the St. Louis Cardinals. The club was founded in 1888, and played in the Texas League at various levels throughout the majority of its existence. Most recently, from 1959 through 1961, the team played in the American Association at the Triple-A level of high minor league baseball as an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Buffaloes derived their nickname from Buffalo Bayou, the principal waterway through Houston to the Houston Ship Channel, outlet to the Gulf of Mexico. The team's last home was Buffalo Stadium, built in 1928. Before that, they played at West End Park from 1905–1928, and at Herald Park prior to that.

The Rochester Red Wings are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Rochester, New York. The team plays in the International League and is the top minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The Red Wings play their home games at Frontier Field, located in downtown Rochester. Founded in 1899, it is the oldest continuously operating sports franchise in North America below the major league level.

Holm split 1932, his last year in professional baseball, between the Cardinals, the Red Wings and the Columbus Red Birds.

The Columbus Red Birds were a top-level minor league baseball team that played in Columbus, Ohio, in the American Association from 1931 through 1954. The Columbus club, a member of the Association continuously since 1902, was previously known as the Columbus Senators — a typical appellation for a team based in a state capital. It was independently and locally owned through the 1920s.

In 436 games over seven seasons, Holm recorded a .275 batting average (410-for-1493) with 207 runs, 6 home runs and 174 RBI. He posted a career .955 fielding percentage. In two World Series (1926 and 1928), he hit .136 (3-for-22) with 2 RBI.

Later life

In the early 1940s, Holm was running a gas station in Storm Lake, Iowa, and managing a semipro baseball team, the Storm Lake White Caps. In 1942, he trained as a machinist to support the defense effort in World War II. [4] Later, he lived in Lake View, Iowa, and ran a factory that manufactured baseball bats. [5]

Holm was turned down for a managing job with a local baseball team in early 1950 because of concerns about his mental health. He had been depressed since suffering a series of business failures. Holm also had a family history of mental illness, as his brother Marcel had committed suicide. [6]

In mid-May 1950, Holm quit his job at a sporting goods store in Spencer, Iowa. [7] On May 19, at his home in Everly, Iowa, Holm fatally shot Ella, seriously wounded Margaret, and killed himself with a gunshot to the head. [8] Robert was working in another city when the shooting occurred.

Fred Sindt, who owned the home where the family lived, said that he had a calm conversation with Holm minutes before the shooting. He said that the family was getting ready to move to Linn Grove, Iowa, the next week. [7]

After Margaret recovered from her injuries, she lived with the family of Holm's former teammate Billy Southworth. [9]

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  1. Thomas, Joan Wendl (2017). Baseball in Northwest Iowa. Arcadia Publishing. p. 21. ISBN   9781439659700.
  2. "50 years ago". The Alton Democrat. June 6, 1973. p. 4.
  3. "Some boys are smart". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 15, 1930. p. 7.
  4. "Wattie Holm goes to work for Uncle Sam". The Des Moines Register. June 9, 1942. p. 7.
  5. "Storm Lake to hold a Wattie Holm Day". Sioux City Journal. August 31, 1946. p. 10.
  6. "Wattie Holm slays wife, kills self in Everly tragedy". The Alton Democrat. May 25, 1950. p. 1.
  7. 1 2 "Former major leaguer kills mate and self". Sioux City Journal. May 20, 1950. p. 1.
  8. "Waddy Holm Kills Wife, Injures Child And Ends His Life". Syracuse Post-Standard. May 20, 1950. p. 6 via Newspapers.com.
  9. Skipper, John C. (2013). Billy Southworth: A Biography of the Hall of Fame Manager and Ballplayer. McFarland. p. 171. ISBN   9780786468478.