Manager Jim Stoeckel leaves National Team
NIEUWEGEIN (Neth.) -
Jim Stoeckel has stepped down as Manager of the Dutch National Baseball Team, the Dutch Federation announced on Monday, one day after the team won the silver medal in the Intercontinental Cup-Tournament in Taiwan.
Due to his family circumstances, Stoeckel cannot commit himself to be available fulltime, as the Dutch Federation expects of its Field Manager.
Technical Director Robert Eenhoorn, who was the Manager of the National Team himself from 2001-2008, expects next week to announce the successor of the sympathetic and well-respected Stoeckel, who for always will remain connected with the Dutch baseball program.
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In January last year, the 58-year old Jim Stoeckel was named Pitching Coach of the Dutch Squad in the staff of then-new Field Manager Rod Delmonico, who succeeded Eenhoorn.
The team then surprised the international baseball world by defeating the all-Major League-team of the Dominican Republic twice during the World Baseball Classic and qualify for the second round.
The team was then off to a weak start in the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam losing the first four games, but finished the event with a good feeling, as they then won the next three out of four games, before losing the final to Cuba.
Hereafter, the Dutch lost two of three games and played one tie vs. Italy in the European Baseball Series, before finishing in sixth place in the World Championship, which was held in eight European countries.
After completion of the international program, both Delmonico and Stoeckel announced in November last year, that they were not returning for this year, due to personal reasons.
Stoeckel wanted to be closer to his family, but his work with the Cincinnati Reds also played a major role.
But at the end of January of this year, Stoeckel did return after all and agreed to become the new Manager of the National Team for a fourth period.
Stoeckel stated he was happy to be back with the team and a new association with the Netherlands, which has become his second home and was especially happy to return to the Haarlem Baseball Week, as it was in Haarlem where he made his debut as Orange Manager in 1981.
...Jim Stoeckel with the Press Award...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In this years 25th Haarlem Baseball Week, Stoeckel led the Dutch Team to first place.
In the event, the team surprised with a big 10-0 win vs. a selection-team of Cuba, which then defeated the Dutch 12-5 on the final day of the event.
It was the lone loss for the Dutch in the event, which had a round-robin format this year.
In the jubilee-tournament, the Dutch dominated and won seven of their eight games.
Jim Stoeckel won the Press Award, as he was always available to talk with the press.
After the Baseball Week, the Dutch Team participated in the European Championship, which was held this year in the German cities of Stuttgart, Heidenheim and Neuenberg.
In the preliminary round and championship round, the Dutch Team dominated again and won seven games in a row.
The team then lost 11-3 to Italy in the final game of the championship round, but already had qualified for the final.
A day later, Italy also won the final vs. the Dutch, 8-4, to win the European title for the first time since 1997.
It also marked the fourth time (1983, 1989, 1991, 2010) that a Dutch Team led by Stoeckel lost an European Championship (sorry Jim).
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
A few weeks later, preparations started for the Intercontinental Cup in Taiwan, which closed last Sunday.
In Taichung and Douliu City, Stoeckel led his last games of the Dutch Team.
In Taiwan, the squad played a very strong tournament and reached the final for the second consecutive time and again faced Cuba.
The Dutch Team lost 4-1 to the Cubans, but once again underscored that it belongs to the top of global baseball by winning the silver medal.
...During the EC in Germany, Stoeckel...
...had some heated discussions with...
...umpires Sixto Bonilla (Spain) and...
...Pierfranco Leone (Italy)...
(Photos: Henk Seppen)
Jim Stoeckel was a familiar name in Dutch baseball, as he has been associated with the program since 1981.
In that year, while he was the Head Coach of Davidson College in South Carolina, he was appointed as new Field Manager of the Dutch National Team, becoming one of the youngest in history.
In 1981, the Dutch captured the European title by defeating Italy in the Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem.
A year later, he led the Dutch squad to sixth place, the highest qualification ever at that moment, during the World Championship in Seoul (Korea).
In 1983, the Dutch lost the European title again to Italy during the Championships in Grosseto (Italy).
In November 1984, Stoeckel returned temporarily as Manager during the Chung Hua Cup-tournament in Taiwan, filling in for then-Manager Harvey Shapiro, who was unable to go due to working commitments at his university.
Stoeckel's third association with the Dutch National Squad came in 1989 when he was appointed for a second 3-year period to lead the team.
Again, there were two European Championships, but both times, in 1989 (Paris, France) and 1991 (Nettuno, Italy), the title was captured by Italy.
In between, in 1990, the team participated in the World Championship in Edmonton (Canada), where the team missed the Play-Offs, due to a weird situation and a very disputable umpiring decision in an important game vs. Canada.
...Jim Stoeckel being interviewed...
...by Canadian Television during...
...the 1990 World Championships...
...in Edmonton (Canada)...
...Jim Stoeckel talks with...
...then-Haarlems Dagblad reporter...
...Pauline Blom at the 1990...
...World Championships in Edmonton...
(Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)
...Jim Stoeckel as Manager at...
...the European Championships...
...of 1991 in Nettuno (Italy)...
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
After leaving the national team as Manager after the 1983 season, Stoeckel went into professional baseball as he became a (pitching) coach and then Manager in the minor league-system of the Los Angeles Dodgers (1983-1987; 1998-1999).
From 1990 through 1998, the American also served as the International Scout Supervisor for the Dodgers and was based in it's Spring Training facility in Vero Beach (Florida).
In November 2006, Stoeckel was appointed as International Scout for the Cincinnati Reds, where he was named Director of International Operations in January 2007.
In between, he worked as Pitching Coach for Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce (Florida).
But while being away from Dutch baseball in these years, he remained in touch and was always interested in the development of the program.
After graduating from Harvard University in 1974, he got the opportunity to sign a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but opted to play American Football with the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Canadian Football League.
Shortly thereafter, he returned to baseball.
In Stoeckel's seven full seasons as Manager, the Dutch Team participated in three Haarlem Baseball Weeks, finishing in third place in 1990 and this year in first.
The team also participated in two World Port Tournaments.
In 1989, Stoeckel led the team to its first tournament title in Rotterdam.
...Jim Stoeckel oversees a practice session as preparation...
...of the Intercontinental Cup in Taiwan...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)