It came up to my mind to tell you guys something about the history of Dutch baseball. Mainly because I think it is a unknow history to you.
I will divide my posts in several periods of the history.
History of Dutch Baseball
The driving force in the early days of Dutch baseball was mr. Grasé. This man from Amsterdam went to the United States for a vacation. There he saw a couple of baseball games.
Very impressed, he introduced the game in the Netherlands in 1911. Because of his profession as teacher of the English language, he could translate the difficult rules of the game.
The first official games were played in 1911.
On March 12, 1912 Emile Grasé founded the Dutch Baseball Union. Mr. Grasé was also the founder of the oldest still existing baseball club in Europe, Quick Amsterdam (March 1, 1913). In those early years the Dutch Baseball Union and Quick Amsterdam were quite the same.
The first official competition was played in 1922. The major league was formed out of four clubs that year: Ajax (yes a branch of the famous soccer club), Blue White (also a soccer club), Hercules and Quick Amsterdam. Quick Amsterdam became the first Dutch champion.
In these early years, people could talk for days about a scoreless inning.
During the first years, baseball is only played in Amsterdam. Later the game is introduced in Haarlem as well. These two cities will dominate Dutch baseball until 1963.
In 1925 a ship of the American Navy comes to the harbour of Amsterdam. Players of Blue White hear this news and go the the ship to invite the sailors to a game of baseball. It will be a big deception for the Dutch. After one inning the Americans are leading 14-0. After two hours of play, the final score is 27-2. The two points have been given by the Americans.
In the early days the pitcher was the one who could throw the fastest ball. In those days, you were considered a bad sport if you bunted or took advantage of the lack of control by a pitcher. It was considered a humiliation to get a BB. It was far better to hit a fly out than to reach the bases on four balls. Baseball was played in shorts (The White Sox were not unique!).
At the end of the 1937 season, one final game will decide who will be the Dutch champion. EDO from Haarlem and Blue White from Amsterdam, will battle each other. The games are still played by the hour. A game lasts two hours. The coach of EDO thinks that he has won the game after the final out of an inning. But according to the umpire there are three more minutes to be played, so a new inning is about to start. The players of EDO are furious and when your in such a state of mind, it is hard to play baseball. You can guess it… Blue White wins and becomes Dutch champion. But 1937 was the last year that a game lasted two hours. From 1938 games in the major league will last nine innings.
In 1939 a team of Mormon preachers played in the Dutch league under the name Seagulls. They only lost two games (vs Blue White from Amsterdam 7-1 and vs. HHC from Haarlem 6-2).
Dutch champions from 1922-1939:
1922 Quick Amsterdam
1923 Blue White Amsterdam
1924 Ajax Amsterdam
1925 Quick Amsterdam
1926 A.G.H.C. Amsterdam (this was a high school team)
1927 A.G.H.C. Amsterdam
1928 Ajax Amsterdam
1929 S.C. Haarlem Haarlem
1930 S.C. Haarlem Haarlem
1931 Blue White Amsterdam
1932 Blue White Amsterdam
1933 V.V.G.A. Amsterdam (team of civil servants)
1934 S.C. Haarlem Haarlem
1935 Quick Amsterdam
1936 H.H.C. Haarlem
1937 Blue White Amsterdam
1938 Blue White Amsterdam
The picture below is one of the first baseball games ever played in the Netherlands. This is now the Museumplein (museum square) in Amsterdam, near the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum.