Alumna takes reins of River Bandits
Brian Hudgins | January 5, 2019
Jacqueline Holm has learned a lot of things by working in Minor League Baseball.
That includes her realization that leaving home and traveling more than 1,000 miles in pursuit of something you care about can pay off.
Holm (B.S. ’11) is the general manager for the Quad Cities River Bandits, a Class-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros. She moved up to the general manager role after spending nearly three years serving as the assistant general manager. “The biggest concern is that I wasn’t ready,” says Holm, a Sugar Land, native. “I moved across the country. I didn’t have friends or family here. That’s a challenge to leave everyone you care about.”
But Holm found the folks in Davenport, Iowa, to be very receptive to newcomers. Holm came on board as the vice president of ticketing before moving up to assistant general manager. When the previous general manager resigned, the River Bandits asked Holm to transition into the job. Now, she is approaching her first season overseeing the ballclub that calls Modern Woodman Park home. “This team has a storied history and it’s great to be part of that tradition,” Holm says.
The team’s recent tradition includes having eight former River Bandits who became members of the Houston Astros 2017 World Series winning team. The River Bandits and fans take an active role in helping the young ballplayers cope with expenses when they are living on a salary that starts at roughly $1,300 per month in lower level Class-A. “There were not a ton of Houston Astros fans in the area, but we have converted them to fans now that several players that went through the QC are World Series champions,” Holm says. “We had one lady who hosted (2018 Astros player) Myles Straw. With the support host families give, it frees up players to not worry about rent. Having eight former River Bandits on the Astros championship roster … it resonated with people.”
Pete Putila is the Astros director of player development and Armando Velasco serves as the director of minor league operations. Those Astros staffers make sure the River Bandits’ facilities, nutrition programs and other operational necessities are up to par. While the River Bandits staffers are handling daily business operations, the Astros are overseeing player development.
It is a daily communication process that Holm, a communications and public relations graduate, first experienced in 2012 as an intern for the Sugar Land Skeeters (an independent minor league squad in the Atlantic League). Texas State prepared her for the climb from intern to general manager. “There is a lot of diversity in the campus life,” Holm says. “Working as a resident assistant and as an orientation leader gave me opportunities to meet with people, manage people and manage expectations.”
Holm’s expectations for the upcoming season? To keep tabs on both the River Bandits and the squad at home in Texas. “Nobody was more excited than me (about the Astros’ championship),” she says. “It was very cool to see.”