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Huntsville - Madison County Athletic HOF Member

NAME:Carl Holden
SPORT:  Baseball
Carl Holden is a native of Madison County and a graduate from Council High School in 1959. While at Council High School, he had the opportunity to play for the legendary Adam Kellam. Carl said, “Mr. Kellam had the greatest impact on my athletic accomplishments. He was not only a coach, but since my father died when I was a young boy, he was a father figure to me. Mr. Kellam made a positive difference on all of the youth who had the pleasure of knowing him.” Carl went on to say that Mr. Kellam provided him with excellent advice and guidance for over 45 years until his death in October of 2002. “He was truly an educator that cared about the lifelong learning and success of his students,” said Carl. In the fall of 1959, Carl enrolled at Alabama A&M and played football under Coach G.H. Hobson, but a knee injury sidelined him for the season. In the spring of 1960, he was invited to the Baltimore Orioles Training Camp and made the roster of the class C Stockton, California team but once again hurt his knee and returned home for rehab. While at home, he was contacted by Mr. Arthur Williams who was the General Manager of the Birmingham Black Barons and Mr. Williams signed him for the 1960 season to be the catcher for $300 per month. In his first game with the Black Barons in Hattisburg, Mississippi, he got base hits in his first two at-bats. Toward the end of the 1960 season with the Birmingham Black Barons, Carl stated, “Out there on the road some days you didn’t get your meal money. The money started drying up, so I came back home and got a job.” Carl earned a certificate in data processing from Drake Technical College and Alabama A&M. He continued playing with semi-pro teams around Huntsville until 1968 when an ankle injury ended his career. Carl was inducted into the Negro League Legends Hall of Fame in 2003 and has received many awards including a letter of commendation from President Bill Clinton, Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Birmingham and Keys to the City of Birmingham. Carl and his wife, Hattie Johnson Holden, are the owner of a small business that they established 27 years ago. They have a son, Dr. Carl Holden, Jr. and a daughter, Cynthia Holden, and two granddaughters, Candice Holden and Carlissa Holden.