Former player, umpire Jan Molleman passed away
HAARLEM (Neth.) -
Former big league-player and former baseball umpire Jan Molleman has passed away on Thursday, January 9 at the age of 78 after a short period of sickness.
(1935 - 2014)
The memorial service for Jan Molleman will take place on Thursday, January 16 at Crematorium Westerveld, Duin en Kruidbergerweg 2-6 in Driehuis.
The ceremony begins at 4:00 PM.
Jan Molleman played baseball in the highest Dutch league for Haarlem-based Kennemerland, EDO and Haarlem Nicols.
In 1952, he captured the championship in the second highest league with Kennemerland to promote to the highest league, which back then was the First Division.
With Kennemerland, Molleman played four seasons in the top league.
After the 1957 season, the competition format changed with the creation of the Major League, which then became the highest division.
Molleman switched from Kennemerland to EDO, where he played in the next six seasons (1958-1963).
There, he was a teammate of such players as Doby Peters, Dolf de Zwart, Roel Hopman, Ton Terneuzen, Piet de Nieuwe, Leo Kops, Wim van Dusschoten, Jules de Pierre, Gerrie Krooder and Gerard Smit, while Bud van Leuven was a playing coach.
Molleman's first season with EDO was successful immediately, as the team captured the Dutch championship-title.
This would be the lone championship in history for the club.
Jan Molleman primarily was an outfielder and mostly played in centerfield.
He was known for being a solid contact-hitter, as he frequently reached base with singles and doubles, but also with walks.
He was often used as lead-off hitter and also had good speed as a fielder and runner, which resulted in him scoring several runs for the teams he played for.
After the 1963 season, the baseball-teams of EDO and EHS merged and created Haarlem Nicols.
Molleman kept on playing in the highest league with Nicols in 1964 and 1965.
In his last big league-season (1965), he won the Dutch championship-title again, this time with Nicols, which was coached by legendary Gé Hoogenbos.
After the 1965 season, Molleman decided to play on a lower level and continued his career with Lijnden and Onze Gezellen in following years.
Jan Molleman's productivity at bat resulted in some memorable moments.
On August 5, 1962, Molleman had a great day at the plate for EDO in a double-header against VVGA.
EDO won the first game 12-3 with Molleman hitting 4-for-5.
The second game was won 22-7 and this time, Molleman set a league-record by reaching base on seven consecutive walks.
On May 25, 1963, EDO played against EHS and surprised by winning 4-1.
Veteran pitcher Herman Beidschat started for EHS.
Since his big league-debut in 1959, Beidschat had faced EDO eight times and never had given up a run.
But this time, he gave up a double to Molleman in the first inning, who moments later scored the first run on a bunt by Jan Kops.
Beidschat ended up as the losing pitcher.
It was the first loss of the season for EHS and a very important win for EDO, which was having a difficult year, but avoided relegation.
On May 23, 1965, playing for Haarlem Nicols against rival Sparta, Molleman collected five basehits in a 9-3 victory in a road game in Rotterdam.
Molleman also made several headlines in the newspapers during his career.
On June 15, 1959 De Telegraaf national newspaper headlined "Magnificent catch by Molleman" for his great defensive pay in a game against Sparta.
On July 3, 1962, De Telegraaf stated "Molleman was indomitable", as he walked, went 4-for-5 and scored four runs in a 14-11 win against UVV.
Jan Molleman represented the city of Haarlem on several occasions, playing in the Haarlem All Star Team for the then-annual games against Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
His first known selection was in 1953 when he played for Haarlem against Rotterdam.
In the early sixties, he played his last games for the Haarlem All Star Team against Amsterdam.
In 1959, Molleman was designated as a reserve-player for a game of the Netherlands National Team against (then) West-Germany.
The game was played on his home site of EDO, but Molleman didn't play.
Two years later, Molleman was having a great season offensively for EDO, but was overlooked for the National Team.
The team then made a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA), but the final approval for it came only a few weeks before departure.
A roster was compiled, but both Nol Houtkamp (who played for EHS) and Jan Molleman were not selected, despite hitting .444 and .471 respectively at the moment of selection.
National newspapers reported about the non-selection of Houtkamp and Molleman after the announcement of the team compilation.
After completion of the season, Houtkamp was the second best hitter with a .350 average, while Molleman finished in seventh place with .309.
Following his playing career, Jan Molleman became a baseball-umpire.
He already had been an umpire in 1953 and 1954, but then concentrated more on his big league-career as a player in following years.
In 1971, Molleman returned to the fields as an umpire and kept on doing that until 1978, officiating games on the national level.
In more recent years, Molleman was just watching games.
He was a frequent visitor of games in Haarlem, played by the baseball- and softball-teams of Sparks Haarlem, the men softball-team of SC Haarlem or the softball-teams of Onze Gezellen and Terrasvogels.
Last year, Jan Molleman was a very proud father, as his son Marco was successful in his debut as Head Coach in the Dutch big league.
With the softball-team of Hotel Ambassador Haarlem Terrasvogels, Marco captured the European Cup Winners Cup, won the Dutch championship-title, was named Coach of the Year and was voted Sports Team of the Year in the Haarlem-region.
On October 6, Jan Molleman attended the fifth and deciding game of the Holland Series to see Terrasvogels defeat Sparks Haarlem and capture the championship.
The webmaster of Grand Slam * Stats & News offers his condolences to the Molleman-family and wishes them a lot of strength with this big loss.