Holmes, 91, Who Set N.L. Hitting Mark, Is Dead
His death was announced by his daughter, Patricia Stone.
Playing for the Braves from 1942 to 1951, then concluding his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 52, Holmes had a lifetime batting average of .302. He struck out only 122 times in 4,992 at-bats.
Holmes, a left-handed batter, hit .352 in 1945 and he led the N.L. in hits, with 224; doubles, with 47; and home runs, with 28; while breaking Rogers Hornsbys consecutive-game hitting streak of 33, set with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1922. Holmess record was eclipsed by Pete Rose, who hit in 44 consecutive games with the Cincinnati Reds in 1978.
Holmes knocked in the only run in the opener of the 1948 World Series, his single off the Cleveland Indians Bob Feller driving in the Braves catcher, Phil Masi, who had seemingly been picked off second base moments earlier but was ruled safe.
A Brooklyn native, Holmes played in the Yankees farm system before joining the Braves. He managed the Braves for parts of the 1951 and 52 seasons and worked in the Mets community relations program from 1973 to 2003.
In addition to his daughter, of Woodbury, Conn., Holmes is survived by his wife, Lillian; his son, Tommy Jr., of East Hampton, N.Y.; his sisters Loretta and Kathleen; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
When Holmes headed toward his consecutive-game batting record, he used an old bat given to him by his third-base coach, Del Bissonette, who became the Braves manager later in the season.
I cracked my bat when the streak reached about 20 games, Holmes once recalled. I had some others but none I liked particularly. We had an off day, and Bissonette said: Ill get you a bat. Im going up to my home in Maine. Ill bring you back a piece of concrete from my attic.
It was like a rock, Holmes remembered. It had been aging. But I tried it in batting practice and I liked it.
On July 7, 1945, Holmes broke Hornsbys mark with a double off the Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Preacher Roe, who became his teammate on the pennant-winning Dodgers seven years later in Holmess final days as a player.