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NETHERLANDS HONKBAL HOOFDKLASSE
The baseball roots in the cultural capitol of The Netherlands go back to 1938 when football (soccer) club S.V. RAP opened a “baseball department.” They played as the RAP Pirates for several years, before conforming to more traditional baseball naming as the “Amsterdam Pirates” when the baseball club separated from their parent sporting club in 1974.
Organized baseball in the central Netherlands’ city of Amersfoort started in 1961 as an offshoot of the Quick football (soccer) club. Four baseball fields were cut out of an area just to the north of the main football pitch at Sportpark Dorrestein, and in just a decade, the team had worked its way up to the top level of Dutch baseball, Honkbal Hoofdklasse.
Baseball in Bussum has a long history, starting pre-WWII as the HC’38 club in 1938. After some post war name changes, the HCAW club (HonkbalClub Allen Weerbaar) founded officially in 1957 and has been active since then, even absorbing their big league rival the Amstel Tigers in the late 80s, playing as the HCAW-Tigers until 1995, when they became HCAW alone once again.
The Neptunus sports club has origins going back to 1900, but the Rotterdam-based organization didn’t field a baseball club until 1943. From those humble beginnings, the Neptunus baseball team has evolved to not only be the best baseball team in the Dutch top-level Honkbal Hoofdklasse (winning the Holland Series for seven years in a row in one stretch), but the best team in Europe, with over ten European Cup Championships to their name. Bucking the Dutch trend, the baseball team is the dominant s
Haarlem’s baseball history is long and complicated, and remains so to this day. The Dutch major leagues, Honkbal Hoofdklasse, work on the European football (soccer) relegation system, so teams need to qualify for the top league and stay competitive to stay there. The first Haarlem club to hit the big time was the turn-of-the-century SC Haarlem, who had great success, winning several early Holland Series championships before relegation and eventual merger with competing sportclub HHC into the Spa
The Pioniers don’t have as long a pedigree as some other Dutch baseball teams. The club was founded in 1966, a relative latecomer, but they quickly picked up a corporate sponsor, Konica Minolta, in 1969 and were known as the Konica Minolta Pioniers until as recently as 2010, when the sponsorship ended.
The Twins are relative late-comers to the Dutch baseball scene, founded in 1969 as an extension of the Twins SC (Sporting Club) football club, playing their first games on the fields next to the football pitches near the club’s sportpark.
Baseball has surprisingly old roots in The Netherlands, but the trauma and want of WWII and the immediate post-war years mostly killed the sport until the Marshall Plan brought relief to the continent and helped revive dormant interests such as baseball, allowing the founding of many new clubs in the early 1950s.