Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. thinks Jackson Holliday may have needed more time in the minors

Cal Ripken Jr. knows a little something about turning a rough start into an iconic career.

Now, he’s hoping for a similar career trajectory for another young Orioles infielder, Jackson Holliday, who earlier this season wore the same No. 7 that Cal Ripken Sr. donned as an Orioles coach and manager.

The legendary shortstop, best known for his streak of 2,632 consecutive games played, went through a 4-for-57 stretch in the first month of his 1982 Rookie of the Year campaign.

Ripken hit .073 over that span, which was only slightly better than the .059 average posted by the highly touted Holliday during his ten games with Baltimore earlier this season.

Cal Ripken Jr before the Orioles' opening day game at Camden Yards.
Cal Ripken Jr before the Orioles' opening day game at Camden Yards.

When asked by USA TODAY Sports why Holliday, widely regarded as MLB’s top prospect, struggled during his cup of coffee in the majors, the Hall of Famer chuckled, and simply said, “because he’s 20.”

Ripken, a part owner of the team he starred with for 21 years, also questioned the speed at which Holliday ascended through the organization.

“He moved so fast through the system, and maybe a little too fast,” said Ripken. “Maybe he needed to learn a little bit more in Triple-A.”

Holliday is now back in the minors, with AAA Norfolk, the fourth and final stop during his meteoric rise through the Orioles minor league system last season – and where he began the 2024 season.

The adversity he’s facing is something new to Holliday.

“I don’t think he’s ever dealt with some sort of failure,” said Ripken. “I haven’t seen that much expectation or that much pressure on a player.”

Despite the demotion, Ripken thinks mentally Holliday is a “gamer” and he will take the demotion as an opportunity to take the approach of “I’ll show you.”

Still, his next chance to make an impact in the majors may be delayed.

That’s because the Orioles are stacked in the infield, where Jordan Westburg and Gunnar Henderson are thriving, and Jorge Mateo continues to be a reliable fielder. Throw in 22-year-old Coby Mayo – leading the International League in homers – and it could be a while before Holliday returns to Camden Yards.

“There’s not going to be any harm to him going down,” said Ripken. “He’ll come back better. I’m not worried about him at all.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cal Ripken Jr. says Orioles' Jackson Holliday needs more time in minors