Team photo above by: Robert Bos
The Honkbal Hoofdklasse is the highest level of baseball in the Netherlands and is one of two professional leagues in Europe. On the second part of this European baseball trip to the Netherlands (see video below), I stop in to visit the most dominant team in the league in recent history, Curaçao Neptunus, at their beautiful Neptunus Family Stadium. This visit was two-fold because, for the first time since the launch of Baseball Jobs Overseas, we had a member sign with Neptunus in Willie “Coco” Johnson.
Neptunus was founded in 1943 and since that time they have won the most championships in league history with 19, and have won six consecutive leading into 2019. This success has been bittersweet, as although winning is something they obviously enjoy, it is no secret that they only have one real challenger on an annual basis, the Amsterdam Pirates. This leaves much to be desired from a competitive standpoint and for the fans, it can get a bit monotonous, as evident in the nearly empty stadium of 2,460 seating capacity during my visit.
The club’s annual tournament, the World Port Tournament, is the only other time of the year they fill the stadium other than the championship series vs Amsterdam or when hosting other international tournaments or teams. For the club, the biggest goal of the season is to win Europe’s “Champions Cup”, a tournament featuring the top teams from Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany and France thus giving them the opportunity to call themselves the best on the continent. In 2019, they fell short of this goal when host Bologna (Italy) brought in a high-level import pitcher just to face them, a pitcher who was in AA and AAA in the previous two summers. To date, they have won the Champions Cup 9 times, most recently in 2018.
Much of the starting lineup and pitching staff of Neptunus consists of Dutch National Team members. In fact, over 75 players who dawned the Neptunus pinstripes have also suited up for the Dutch National Team. To put that statement into perspective, as of the most recent world baseball ranking at the end of 2018, the Dutchmen are ranked 8th just above Venezuela and Canada. Infielder Dwayne Kemp is one of those players, who last winter played in the Australian Baseball League for the first time and finished near the top of the offensive leaderboard after batting .348. Dwayne is a veteran of the Hoofdklasse and the Dutch National Team, and fun to watch play. What was even more impressive about Dwayne outside of his play, was that he was very welcoming and friendly.
Thanks again to Ronald for inviting me. I hope everyone enjoys the video.
Travel the world using baseball or softball as your ticket
Our baseball and softball members get paid to play or coach overseas year-round, mostly in Europe and Australia.
There are a variety of levels overseas which present opportunities for both the college grad and the established professional.