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History of Dutch baseball

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  • History of Dutch baseball

    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
    1939 Seagulls

    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.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Yankeebiscuitfan; 07-31-2006, 03:10 PM.

  • #2
    Good stuff Chris.

    I look forward to your next post.
    "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it."
    Carl Yastrzemski


    • #3
      Thank you for that introduction to the History of Dutch Baseball Yankeebiscuitfan - very interesting reading. I look forward to the next installment.
      I have been to both the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum but missed the Museumplein (museum square).
      "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." ~Humphrey Bogart

      No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference. ~Tommy Lasorda


      • #4
        1940 - 1970


        After the German invasion in May 1940, baseball will live through a hard period, just like the Dutch people. As the war continues, baseball materials get more scarce. From 1943 baseballs were made of some kind of rubber with a cork center. Two hits and the balls did break. These balls were made by the tyre company Vredenstein. These balls didn’t have any seams so some pitchers cut out a small piece, so they could throw some curves. Because baseball materials were very scarce, clubs were forced to mend cracked bats with screws or whatsoever.

        After WWII the Americans didn’t only help the Dutch with the Marshall plan, they also sent shiploads of baseball materials: uniforms in any kind of color, bats, balls etc. Teams like OVVO from Amsterdam and HHC from Haarlem played in red uniforms, a colour the Americans didn’t like in those days...

        Many games were played against military teams. In their own league, the Dutch could hit quite well, but against the Americans it seemed that hitting was a neglected part of the game.
        In their own league the Dutch could hit… except against one young pitcher: Han Urbanus. For the Dutch this guy was a phenomenon. When you managed to get a hit against him, you had a starting spot in the Dutch national team. An Dutch American journalist, Albert Balink, managed two trips to spring training camp for Han Urbanus. This journalist new that the Dutch would need this to improve. Another player, Martin Jole, went to a spring training camp of the Cincinnati Reds. This Martin Jole, was one of the players that could hit Han Urbanus. He learned the Dutch that swinging a bat day after day, would improve your hitting.
        Albert Balink did more for our beloved sport. He introduced medals for the best players and hitters. In this way he taught the Dutch that baseball is a sport of stats. In 1953 Han Urbanus got a phone call from the USA. The New York Giants had offered him a minor league contract. He refused… He preferred to teach his fellow countrymen what he had learned in the USA…

        From 1949 to 1953 OVVO from Amsterdam dominated Dutch baseball by clinching the national titles in these years. In 1955 the club will win it all one more time. After that year, they will never win a championship again.

        The help of the Americans resulted in the first European title in 1956. In Rome, Italy, Han Urbanus seemed a defensive force. And the Dutch batters did very well. Because of the European title, the Dutch were allowed to go to the Global World Series.
        American coaches like Ron Fraser and Bill Arce helped the Dutch to improve very much.
        Baseball fields were built everywhere, baseball fields with mounds. Before WWII the Dutch pitched out of a hole or just flat ground at best…

        In 1963 a real baseball stadium was built in Haarlem. This stadium would be the base of the Haarlem Baseball Week, a yearly event.

        Like said before until 1963 baseball was dominated by teams from Amsterdam and Haarlem. But suddenly in 1963 Sparta from Rotterdam became Dutch champion. From 1963 to 1974 the club will clinch nine national titles, a record only to be improved in 1985 by Haarlem Nicols. This club is the result of a merger between EHS and EDO, both located in Haarlem. The new club will play it’s home games in the new Pim Mulier Stadium.

        In the early sixties, each team played 14 games (!). One game every weekend. If your team had a dominating pitcher, he could win 12 of those 14 games and your team would win the pennant. So the few players who had visited the American spring training camps shouted that more games had to be played.

        Dutch champions from 1940-1970

        1940 S.C. Haarlem Haarlem
        1941 S.C. Haarlem Haarlem
        1942 Ajax Amsterdam
        1943 Blue White Amsterdam
        1944 Blue White Amsterdam
        1945 Blue White Amsterdam
        1946 Blue White Amsterdam
        1947 Schoten Haarlem
        1948 Ajax Amsterdam
        1949 O.V.V.O Amsterdam
        1950 O.V.V.O Amsterdam
        1951 O.V.V.O Amsterdam
        1952 O.V.V.O Amsterdam
        1953 O.V.V.O Amsterdam
        1954 E.H.S. Haarlem.
        1955 O.V.V.O Amsterdam
        1956 Schoten Haarlem
        1957 Schoten Haarlem
        1958 E.D.O. Haarlem
        1959 E.H.S. Haarlem
        1960 Schoten Haarlem
        1961 Schoten Haarlem
        1962 E.H.S. Haarlem
        1963 Sparta Rotterdam
        1964 Sparta Rotterdam
        1965 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
        1966 Sparta Rotterdam
        1967 Sparta Rotterdam
        1968 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
        1969 Sparta Rotterdam


        • #5
          Great posts.Very interesting

          Never knew there was such a long and distinguished baseball history in the Netherlands.
          Greystones Mariners Baseball Club. The oldest baseball club in Ireland. 16 years and still going strong.


          • #6
            1970 -

            1970 –

            Dutch baseball is dominated by Sparta from Rotterdam in the first years of the seventies. The magnificent three from the Dutch Antilles are unstoppable: Hudson John, Simon Arrindell and Hamilton Richardson. These three had a big influence on Sparta. But after 1974 it will be over. The players of Sparta seem to be satisfied with 9 titles in 15 years. Sparta will no longer play an important role.

            At the end of the 1972 season the soccer club Ajax, decides to cut lose the baseball branch. This is the end of a legendary ball club. Soccer players like Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens did play baseball. Cruyff was a decent pitcher.

            Then at the end of the 1977 season there is some turmoil at O.V.V.O. from Amsterdam. This baseball club is a branch of a soccer club. The soccer (amateur) club is involved in a scandal. The club seems to pay it’s soccer players. The baseball branch doesn’t agree and big names like Han Urbanus decide to leave the club and found a new club: Amstel Tigers. Players like
            Charles Urbanus jr. (pitcher/shortstop), Jan Hijzelendoorn (pitcher), Paul Smit (catcher) and Don Wedman decide to join. Almost the complete major league team will follow. The Dutch Baseball Federation tries to mediate, but the rebels will not come back. The city of Amsterdam appoints a terrain in the Western part of the city. First Amstel Tigers think that the field will be too far away. But in the end the new club will build a great baseball field (Quick Amsterdam, mentioned before, now plays on this great field).
            In the meantime O.V.V.O. can not be persuaded to take a step back to a lower division. Amstel Tigers will start it’s first season in the “overgangsklasse”. A league, one level lower than the Major League. With players like the ones mentioned above it won’t come as a surprise that the club will go to the highest league the next season (1979). Because O.V.V.O. refuses to take a step back, the 1978 season will be a disaster and the team will be demoted.
            Amstel Tigers will be champion in 1979, 1980 and 1986.

            In 1979 a Dutch pitcher makes his MLB debut on the mound in Milwaukee. The Red Sox are trailing 4-1 as they call pitcher Win Remmerswaal. His debut will be a good one eventhough his team will lose 5-3. After the game shiploads of journalists ask him all kind of questions. They want to know how he did come this far. Unfortunately the MLB career of Win Remmerswaal will only last two seasons. Injuries and especially the hard life of a ballplayer (travelling, drugs, etc.) will cost him dearly. After the 1980 season, Remmerswaal will have pitched 22 games (3 victories and 1 loss). His short career in baseball's Walhalla, has lasted 55 innings. After his Major League career, Remmerswaal went to Italy. He played for several teams for many years, making some money with what he could do best.

            The eighties and nineties will be bad decades for many baseball clubs. In 1986, Charles Urbanus jr. decides that it will be his last season. On the long run (2 years) this will be a huge blow for his club, Amstel Tigers. Urbanus was a magnet for players. It was an honour to play with him. But an Amstel Tigers without him, suddenly is not so big anymore. After the 1988 season the club will not be capable to field a decent team. The members decide to vote for a merger with H.C.A.W. from Bussum, a club that did demote to the lower league. In this way the club will play in the Major League in 1989 again. None of the members of Amstel Tigers will play for the new merger club H.C.A.W. – Tigers.
            In 1988 Giants from Diemen will move to Almere. This move will be the herald of a new club, Almere ’90. Strangly, the new club will not play in the Major League for the last 12 years of the 20th century.
            In 1994 the legendary Haarlem Nicols will be declared bankrupt. The pay of the players will cost the club dearly.

            In 1981 Neptunus (baseball branch founded in 1942) from Rotterdam will win the pennant for the first time. It will be the first of eleven titles in the next decades. Because of a good youth program and a very professional approach, the club will be a force to be reckoned with.

            Dutch champions from 1970 – now.

            1970 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1971 Sparta Rotterdam
            1972 Sparta Rotterdam
            1973 Sparta Rotterdam
            1974 Sparta Rotterdam
            1975 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1976 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1977 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1978 S.C. Kinheim Haarlem
            1979 Amstel Tijgers Amsterdam
            1980 Amstel Tijgers Amsterdam
            1981 Neptunus Rotterdam
            1982 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1983 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1984 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1985 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1986 Amstel Tijgers Amsterdam
            1987 Pirates Amsterdam
            1988 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1989 Haarlem Nicols Haarlem
            1990 Pirates Amsterdam
            1991 Neptunus Rotterdam
            1992 ADO The Hague
            1993 Neptunus Rotterdam
            1994 S.C. Kinheim Haarlem
            1995 Neptunus Rotterdam
            1996 H.C.A.W Bussum
            1997 Pioniers Hoofddorp
            1998 H.C.A.W. Bussum
            1999 Neptunus Rotterdam
            2000 Neptunus Rotterdam
            2001 Neptunus Rotterdam
            2002 Neptunus Rotterdam
            2003 Neptunus Rotterdam
            2004 Neptunus Rotterdam
            2005 Neptunus Rotterdam
            Last edited by Yankeebiscuitfan; 08-06-2006, 03:59 PM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Padday
              Great posts.Very interesting

              Never knew there was such a long and distinguished baseball history in the Netherlands.
              Thank you. It is nice to dig into books and documents. I will post some nice old pictures later on.


              • #8
                So where do you fit into all this, Chris?
                "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it."
                Carl Yastrzemski


                • #9
                  Wilhelmus Abraham Remmerswaal
                  Bosox 1979-1980
                  3-1, 5.50


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by runningshoes
                    So where do you fit into all this, Chris?
                    Unfortunately my role in Dutch baseball wasn't that big... Eventhough I have played for Quick Amsterdam, the oldest still excisting baseball club in Europe.

                    Look at the team photo of 1993. I am the one in the front row in the middle. The young god of then 26 years old.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Yankeebiscuitfan; 08-06-2006, 04:24 PM.


                    • #11
                      Quick Amsterdam 75 years in 1988

                      This letter of the US Ambassador says it all.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yankeebiscuitfan
                        Unfortunately my role in Dutch baseball wasn't that big... Eventhough I have played for Quick Amsterdam, the oldest still excisting baseball club in Europe.

                        Look at the team photo of 1993. I am the one in the front row in the middle. The young god of then 26 years old.
                        Why are you the only one not looking at the camera?
                        "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it."
                        Carl Yastrzemski


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by runningshoes
                          Why are you the only one not looking at the camera?
                          Shy? Distracted by a beautiful woman? Who knows?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Yankeebiscuitfan
                            Shy? Distracted by a beautiful woman? Who knows?
                            Maybe the guy with the porn stache just tickled you?
                            "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it."
                            Carl Yastrzemski


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Yankeebiscuitfan
                              Look at the team photo of 1993. I am the one in the front row in the middle. The young god of then 26 years old.

                              Zo leuk!

                              I'll be in Nijmegen in December visiting's not baseball season
                              Orioles: Once fine organization, being run into the ground by Peter Angelos.


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