Dave Hollins

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Baseball Major Leaguer

In baseball, as in life, not only is the road to the top often paved with obstacles, but a perch at the pinnacle of one’s profession can also be endangered by unforeseen difficulties and dangers. The baseball life of Dave Hollins is an example of the dedication and perseverance required to maintain an attained level of excellence when that performance level is challenged by adversity.

Dave Hollins was a product of the Bob Barrows baseball academy otherwise known as Orchard Park High School. A 1987 draft pick of the San Diego Padres, Dave opted for college at the University of Buffalo and later experienced the College World Series with the University of South Carolina. The Philadelphia Phillies drafted Hollins off the Padres’ Triple A roster in 1989, and Dave made the big club the following season. The switch-hitting third baseman hit safely in his major league debut in Chicago, and became the first Phillie to connect for pinch-hit homers from both sides of the plate. Dave’s progression continued in 1991, with a .298 batting average during a 56-game stint with the Phils.

Dave’s breakout season came in 1992, with a .270 average, 27 homers, 93 RBI, and 104 runs scored (second in the National League) during a full campaign. The following season, Hollins, an All-Star selection, drove in another 93 runs, spanked a career-high 30 doubles, and once again scored over 100 runs (the first Philly since Juan Samuel in 1985 to accomplish that feat in consecutive seasons) for a Philadelphia team that upset the Atlanta Braves to reach the World Series. Hollins clubbed two homers in the Series, which ended with a sixth game loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Adversity struck in 1994-95, with a series of debilitating wrist injuries and a diagnosis of diabetes. Undaunted, Dave battled back from two nightmarish years with a strict dietary regimen and brutal physical rehabilitation to achieve one of his finest seasons with the Anaheim Angels in 1997: a career-high .288 average, 165 hits, 29 doubles, 16 homers, 85 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.

From 1998 to 2002, Hollins endured several injury-plagued seasons with stops in Toronto, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and with many minor league teams, including the Buffalo Bisons. He retired to his home town of Orchard Park, and despite his long and winding major league road, enjoys a short jaunt to his induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.