Baseball-world unites at Halman's farewell and funeral
HAARLEM / DRIEHUIS (Neth.) -
The Dutch baseball- and softball-world truly united on Sunday, November 27 and Tuesday, November 29 to mourn collectively when is said farewell to Greg Halman.
On Sunday, at the Indoor Sports Facility near the Pim Mulier Baseball Stadium in Haarlem, Halman's city of birth, some 1500 visitors came from all over the country to be together.
On Tuesday, some 1000 visitors came to Westerveld Cemetary in Driehuis, where Greg was laid to rest in the afternoon.
(1987 - 2011)
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
On Monday, November 21, Greg Halman died tragically at age 24 from a minor wound at the wrong spot in his neck during a stabbing fight in Rotterdam.
After the incident, his younger brother was taken into custody.
On Tuesday, the hundreds of visitors, most of them wearing red caps (as requested by the family), lined up besides the road that leads up to the aula of the beautiful cemetary.
The aula for the funeral service simply was too small to accomodate all visitors, meaning some 300 waited outside during the 2-hour service.
Photos of Greg were shown and in speeches, the outfielder was remembered.
Amongst those who attended the service were first baseman Mike Carp, infielder Alex Liddi, infielder Matt Mangini and pitcher Dan Cortes, Greg's teammates with the Seattle Mariners, with some of them speaking at the service.
Also speaking were Greg's parents and sisters, as well as Bob Bergkamp, the President of the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB), Bart Bruin, President of Kinheim, where Greg started his career, Yvonne de Vries, the Public Address Announcer of Kinheim and Jeffrey Arends, the first baseman of DOOR Neptunus and friend of Greg.
Greg's mother also talked about his brother Jason and informed the visitors about the preceeding period and days leading up to the incident.
The family hopes that he also will get the needed support in this difficult period and will not be forgotten.
After the memorial ceremony, Greg was brought to his final resting place, with his Seattle-teammates, amongst others, serving as pall bearers.
The Reverend Keith Louis spoke during the ceremony, which he did in English, so that the American guests also could follow the sevrice.
On Sunday, inside the gym, Greg lied in state, dressed in his Seattle Mariners-uniform with his number 56, surrounded by memorabilia from his career, flowers and several photos.
On some of the photos, he was seen together with his brother Jason, with whom he had a very close relationship.
Since the news of Greg's death broke, the Dutch and international baseball-world was in schock.
And still is.
On Sunday, during the public viewing and today, during the funeral ceremony, the disbelief still predominated.
Amongst the visitors of course were boardmembers, players, former players, former teammates of Greg, coaches from Greg's former club Kinheim.
But hundreds of visitors, also came from other places, including (national team) players, coaches, (national team) softball-players, reporters, fans and friends, but also some of the Little League-players, who had attended one of the clinics during the European Big League Tour earlier this month, where Greg Halman was one of the Major Leaguers that gave the instructions.
In both Haarlem and Driehuis, also attending were KNBSB's Technical Director Robert Eenhoorn and National Team Manager Brian Farley, as well as National Team-coaches Wim Martinus and Tjerk Smeets, as well as Bob Engle, Seattle's Vice President International Operations, and Wayne Norton, Seattle's Coordinator European Scouting, as well as the mentioned Major League-players.
On Sunday, the hundreds of visitors mourned, listened to music, had emotional moments, were able to embrace and talk to the family.
An especial emotional moment was when some seventy of the visitors spontaneously joined together around Greg and embraced each other when 'You Never Walk Alone' was played.
The Dutch baseball- and softball-world truly was a baseball- and softball-family on these days, with must have given the family a warm feeling in this very difficult moment of time.
At the end of the impressive public viewing, former National Team-player Jacky Jakoba gave an emotional and warm speech, standing behind Greg.
,,Today is a black page in baseball'', said Jakoba, who also praised Greg's talent for reaching the Major League, but also called on to support all of Greg's family.
Jakoba held another speech on Tuesday at the conclusion of the funeral ceremony.