The driving force in the early days of Dutch baseball was J.C.G. Grasé of Amsterdam. After discovering baseball while on vacation in the United States, he introduced the game in the Netherlands in 1911. An English teacher by profession, Grasé was able to translate the rules of the game into the Dutch Language. The first official games were played in 1911 and on 12 March 1912, Grasé founded the Dutch Baseball Union. Grasé was also the founder of the oldest baseball club in Europe, Quick Amsterdam (founded 1 March 1913). The first official competition was played in 1922. Quick Amsterdam became the first Dutch champion. During the early years, baseball was only played in Amsterdam, and quickly spread to Haarlem as well. After WWII, the Americans helped Europe rebuild with the Marshall Plan. They also sent baseball materials to the Netherlands including uniforms, bats, balls, etc. The post-war help of the Americans helped the Dutch earn their first European title in 1956 in Rome, Italy. Amsterdam and Haarlem dominated Dutch baseball until 1963. But in 1963, Sparta from Rotterdam became Dutch champion. From 1963 to 1974, Sparta clinched nine national titles, a record not exceeded until 1985 by the Haarlem Nicols. In 1981, Neptunus Rotterdam won the pennant for the first time since the baseball team's foundation in 1942. Neptunus began to dominate the championship during the 1990s and 2000s, winning eleven pennants in total including seven consecutively between 1999 and 2005.
Dutch 'Major League'
Baseball in The Netherlands is strictly an amateur sport. The Dutch 'Major League' has only eight teams. The regular season is 42 games long and begins in April and ends in October. Most games are played on saturdays and sundays and some on thursday evenings. The best four qualify for the play offs (best of 5). The winners go to the Holland Series (best of 5). Since 2005 there's also a promotion/degradation series to give teams from the 'Minor League' a chance in The Show. This season, 2010, the Major League consists of:
ADO, Den Haag
Almere Magpies, Almere
Amsterdam Pirates, Amsterdam
Corendon Kinheim, Haarlem
DOOR Neptunus, Rotterdam
Konica Minolta Pioniers, Hoofddorp
Mr. Cocker HCAW, Bussum
All Star Game
July 4th 2010 was the date of the first Dutch All Star Game. Took us some years to get it organised (77 years after the US played the first All Star Game). The four Southern teams (Neptunus, Sparta/Feyenoord, ADO, Pioniers) played the four Northern teams (Magpies, Pirates, Kinheim, HCAW). The Southern team was coached by the coach of a Northern team and, you guessed it, the Northern team was coached by a 'Southern' coach. South won 7-4. This result does not determine home field advantage for the Holland Series.
Neptunus or 'Neptune' (hence the trident logo) is one of the teams in my hometown Rotterdam. The other, Sparta/Feyenoord, plays in 'Rotterdam South' below the river Maas. Neptunus is the better team. Best team in Rotterdam and arguably the best team of The Netherlands (won Holland Series in 1981, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009 & 2010) and even Europe (won EC for champions in 1994, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004). When I go to baseball, I go to Neptunus. Their stadium is the biggest in the country and has... 2500 seats. ;)