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Updated: October 14, 2010
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2010 by Marco Stoovelaar

UVV returns to big league!
UTRECHT (Neth.) - UVV will return to the Dutch Major League in 2011. Evert Jan Pluimers, Chairman of the Board of the Utrecht-based club, confirmed today (Thursday, October 14) that the Board had decided to accept the request by the Dutch Federation KNBSB to take the place of Almere Magpies, which withdraw from the big league on Tuesday-evening. The chairman informed the Dutch Federation of their decision around noon today. ,,We have looked into several things and are convinced that we are ready to play in the big league'', Pluimers stated. ,,Of course, we already worked on a possible comeback this year. That was our goal, but then we lost to Almere. And in recent weeks, we also heard the stories about the possible withdrawal of Almere. So, we already discussed the possibility of returning within the club in recent weeks to cover all bases and see what the possibilities are. On Wednesday-evening, after we got the request from the Federation, we discussed everything, Today, the board unanimously decided to go ahead and accept the request. A topsport foundation will now be created to handle things regarding the big league. We are very positive.''

This means that UVV will make its comeback in the big league after a 22-year absence, as it last played on the highest level in 1988. It also will mark that UVV will play in the big league in its fourth different period. And it means the return to the highest division for a club with a rich history in the Dutch big league.

Back then, UVV played at Sportpark Verthoren, which was one of the playing sites during the World Baseball Championship 1986, which was then held in The Netherlands. On that field, there were a lot of memorable games being played through the years by UVV, which then had several welknown players on its roster. Since a few years, UVV is playing on a new and beautful complex, called Sportpark 'De Paperclip'.

...The succesfull championship team of UVV in 2010...
(© Photo: UVV)
This season, UVV captured the title in the 'Overgangsklasse' to qualify for the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off. In the best-of-five series, they faced Almere Magpies, that finished in last place in the big league. Almere swept UVV in three games to remain in the highest division, but withdraw on Tuesday due to financial reasons. Head Coach Edwin van Scharenburg, who led the team to the title, resigned after the series. UVV expects to announced his successor soon.

Playing for UVV this season were Cuban powerhitter Fausto Álvarez Rizo, who played for L&D Amsterdam Pirates the previous four seasons, Glenn Romney (who played in the big league for Quick Amersfoort, Mr. Cocker HCAW and Konica Minolta Pioniers) and Jeroen Hermans (who played in the big league for L&D Amsterdam Pirates and Sparta-Feyenoord). This means that all three will return to the big league in 2011, giving Álvarez to opportunity to become the first 50-year old player in the highest division.


Soccer-club UVV founded a baseball-deparment on May 21, 1948. A year later, the baseball-team played in its first season and finished in second place in the Third Division. Ten years later (1959), UVV promoted to the Dutch big league for the first time. In its first season on the highest level, American player Tom Campbell became the Homerun King. A year later (1961), Campbell batted .382 to become the batting champion. But he wasn't honored for that feat, as back then foreign players were not not eligible to win the medallions that were to the best players of the season. Nol Houtkamp, who finished second with a .350 average, therefore won the gold medal for the best hitter of the 1961 season. In 1961, UVV finished in last place and relegated to the First Division, but captured the title a year later to return again to the big league. However, in 1963, UVV again finished in last place, meaning another relegation to the First Division.

It then took 14 years for UVV to make its third appearance in the big league. In that period, the Utrecht-team played in the First Division and it became succesfull again in the early seventies when it played several play-offs, but failed to reach the big league. In 1972, UVV won the championship in one of the two pools in the First Division. In that year, the big league also consisted of two pools. The two teams in fourth and last place of those pools, in this case Ajax and HCK, faced each other in a Relegation Play-Off. Ajax (which was part of the famous soccer-club) won the series vs. HCK, which therefore relegated. In the First Division, UVV, which won the title in Pool B, faced ADO, the winner of Pool A, but lost their best-of-three Championship Play-Offs 3-2, meaning ADO promoted. Next, UVV had to play a 3-game series vs. Ajax, which won 2-1 to remain in the big league, while UVV remained in the First Division.

In 1973, the same format was used. In the big league, Storks relegated after losing to HCAW. in the First Division, UVV again was one of the champions, but again was left empty-handed. Schoten defeated UVV to promote and then the latter also lost the series vs. HCAW to remain a First Divisionist.

...The UVV-team that promoted to the big league in 1976...
...Standing at left are Coach Wim Onderstal and catcher Tom Stamer...
...Stamer later would become the chairman of the club...
(© Photo: UVV)
Another format was introduced again in 1974. UVV, which then was sponsored for the first time by icecream-manufacturer Ola, qualified for the Promotion-Pool and finished in sixth place. Ola remained the main sponsor of the club through the early nineties. In 1975, UVV shared second place in the First Division with Neptunus behind champion Kinheim, that promoted to the big league. By the way, also playing in this pool were Amsterdam Pirates (4th place) and RCH (5th place). Finally, in 1976, UVV, which was then led by Head Coach Wim Onderstal, succeeded in returning to the big league. As the Dutch Major League was expanding from eight to ten teams a year later, the two First Division-champions would promote automatically. In the B-Pool, UVV won title, while Giants Diemen promoted in Pool A.

And so, in 1977, UVV played in the big league for the third time. And this time, the team would remain playing in the highest division for 12 consecutive seasons (1977-1988). In the first six seasons, UVV's highest finish was fourth place in 1979, but also finished in eighth place twice. The best result then came in 1983, when UVV closed the season with a 22-13-1 record to finish in second place, 12 points behind champion Haarlem Nicols. After a third place in 1984, UVV started to descent in the following years. In 1987 and 1988, the team had to play in the Relegation Pool. In 1987, after finishing in tenth and last place after the first half of the season, UVV secured its big league spot for the next year by finishing in third place in the Relegation Pool. 1988 was to be the last season on the highest level for UVV. The team again had to play in the Relegation Pool and was joined by HCAW, OVVO and PSV. Only PSV was able to return to the big league, as HCAW, OVVO and UVV all relegated. Their places were taken by ADO, Kinheim and De Spartaan.

In 1989, while playing in the so-called 'Overgangsklasse', UVV won only three games and relegated again, this time to the First Division. In the next year, UVV finished in a tie for first place with Tex Town Tigers, won an one-game tiebreaker, but then lost to Storks and Feyenoord in two following promotion series. A new competition format was introduced again in the 1992 season with the national divisions being reduced in the following years. As UVV finished in eighth place in the second half of the season, it relegated and had to play in the highest league in District East in 1993. The team then played four seasons in this District and made a comeback to the national First Division in 1997, but returned to the District a year later. In those years, there were several in competition formats and so in 2001, UVV played in the Second Division, which then was a national division, but in the following years, it played again in the lower regions. And it was not until 2008 that UVV returned once more to the national competitions. Last year, UVV finished in second place in the First Division, eight points behind Almere Magpies, which then promoted to the big league after winning the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off vs. RCH. This season, UVV captured the title and played itself in the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off, facing Almere Magpies, but was swept in three games.


Through the years, especially in the big league-seasons, UVV had several wellknown players on its roster, including some who went on to play for the Dutch National Team. In the sixties, there were players like Ruben Leyssner, Rickey Kersout, Jan Kars, Cees Hiele, Jan van Ewijk, Wim van der Ster, Rob Rijnders and Tom Stamer (the latter three also played in the seventies) and Americans like Tom Campbell and Michael Campbell. Later, Hennie Jenken was a talented player at UVV, but went on to play for Haarlem Nicols, before the club returned to the big league. In its third big league-period (1977-1988), players like Reinier Abrahamsen, André Boddendijk, Ton Camue, Jeffrey Cranston, Robert-Jan Kars, Jos Kervers (who had the most Stolen Bases in 1978), Henk van 't Klooster, Danny McNurlin, Paul Mulder, Erik Ronnenbergh (the father of Scott Ronnenbergh, who made his professional debut this year), Martin Ronnenbergh (who played professionally in the USA before coming to UVV), Caspar van Rijnbach (who went on to become professional after his UVV-period), Olav Starreveld, Peter van der Ster and Tom van Zijl (the father of current big league-pitcher Jurjen van Zijl) played for UVV. More recently, former pro Ferenc Jongejan played and coached at UVV. Before making their debuts in the Dutch big league in the, future Dutch National Player Danny Wout and Danny Rombley also played for UVV.
Players from the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba included Judsel Baranco, Ritchie Daal (father of Rodney Daal, who recently signed a pro-contract), Jersey van Doornspeek (father of big league-pitcher Robin van Doornspeek), Tico Fleming, Marlon Fluonia, Rob Groeneveldt, Ed Halman, (the father of Major Leaguer Greg Halman), Carlos van Heyningen, Louis Jacobs, Tony Rombley (father of big league-player Danny Rombley), Harold Wout, Roley Wout and King Zschuschen.
Cuban José Acebal was a valuable player for the team in the eighties and from the USA came players like Kerry Freedman, Bill McGreevy, Douglas Morton, Bill Nardi, Bob Shannon and Joe Westmoreland (who was the Homerun King in 1980). Another American player who was a member of UVV was Brian Lewis, who played for the team in 1978 and 1979 and was a solid hitter. Unfortunately, on July 7, 1980, while he was in his first season with De Spartaan, Lewis died at age 26 when he was involved in an argument in downtown Amsterdam.


Jos Kervers, the lone player, who played in almost the entire third big league-period of UVV, later was the Head Coach of the team in its last years on the highest level. Before that, UVV frequently changed its Head Coach and was led by Bill McGreevy, Jeff Archer, Ad Brevet, Joe Ross, Cees Herkemij and Nico de Bie, amongst others.

(October 14)

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