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Bill Holland

Elvis William Holland
Nickname: Bill

Career: 1920-1941
Positions: p, manager
Teams: Detroit Stars (1920-1922), Chicago American Giants (1921), New York Lincoln Giants (1923-1924, 1927-1930), Brooklyn Royal Giants (1925-1927), Hilldale Daisies (1927), Harlem Stars (1931), New York Black Yankees (1932-1941), Philadelphia Stars (1941)
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Height: 5' 9''   Weight: 180
Born: February 2, 1901, Indianapolis, Indiana
Died: New York, New York

A fastball pitcher, this right-hander's repertory also included a curve, drop, change-up, and emery ball. He is credited with a 29-2 record in 1930 with the New York Lincoln Giants, and on July 10 of that year he became the first black pitcher ever to pitch in Yankee Stadium.

He began his twenty-two year career with a 17-2 record in 1920, followed by seasons of 13-12 and 16-13 before joining the Lincoln Giants. In New York his fortunes turned and he had only a 2-5 league ledger in his first season with the Lincolns, but that winter (1923-1924), pitching with the great Santa Clara ballclub, he led the Cuban League in wins with 10. The following season, with the Lincoln Giants, he was expected to be a mainstay on the pitching staff and forged an 8-5 record, but was released around midseason for an unspecified reason. After his release he went to Cuba and worked himself back into form. He often pitched in the Latin American winter leagues, including four years in Cuba, where he logged a 27-22 lifetime record.

Upon his return, he signed with the Brooklyn Royal Giants for four seasons (1925-1928) and experienced a notable lack of success in league play, with records showing a composite 7-13 ledger without a winning season. He returned to New York for the 1929 season and enjoyed a resurgent 13-7 season for the Lincoln Giants. After the record-setting 1930 season, the last in the Lincoln Giants' history, he played with John Henry Lloyd's Harlem Stars, which was an interim team between the Lincolns and the New York Black Yankees, who were organized in 1932. Holland had a record of 6-1 in his first year with the Black Yankees, but available statistics show an aggregate record of only 8-13 for the next 8 seasons.

However, during much of his long association with the New York Black Yankees he was considered the ace of the staff, and he was selected to pitch in the 1939 East-West All Star game but did not figure in the decision. Aside from his work on the mound, he was at best a mediocre player in other phases of the game, being an average fielder and below average in batting and baserunning.

Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.