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Updated: May 19, 2014
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2014 by Marco Stoovelaar

UVV loses two icons in Cees Hiele and Jan Kars

...Cees Hiele...

...Jan Kars...
(© Both Photos: UVV)
UTRECHT (Neth.) - Baseball- and softball club UVV and the baseball-society in Utrecht have lost two of its icons in the weekend when on Friday, May 16, Jan Kars passed away and on Saturday, May 17, Cees Hiele also passed away. The two each were associated with UVV for more than 60 years and played for the main baseball-squad of the club in the highest Dutch league and also coached at the club. Jan Kars and Cees Hiele both were 83 years old.

Before the start of the 2011 season, when UVV played its first game on the big league level after 23 years, the uniform numbers of both Jan Kars and Cees Hiele were officially retired by UVV.

Jan Kars never played for the Netherlands National Baseball Team, but he was a member of the Technical Commission in 1961-1967 of the then Royal Dutch Baseball Federation (KNHB). After serving as committee-member in the first six years, he was its chairman in 1967. It was this commission, which had a say in the compilation of the National Teams during these years. One of the players selected in 1960 for the European Championship was Cees Hiele.

In the sixties, Mr. Kars also was active briefly in one of the sub-divisions of the Federation, the so-called Rayon 't Gooi-Utrecht. He was its chairman in 1963 and was a member of the press-committee in 1963-1964.

...In 2005, Jan Kars was part of...
...the group that inspected the...
...fields in Amsterdam and Rotterdam...
...for the World Championship...
...Kars stands in the back (2nd left)...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
In 1961, he first became involved with the Terrain Committee of the Dutch Federation and was a member in 1961-1962. He returned to this commission in 1982, which started a period of 25 years in this commission, which oversees all conditions of the playing fields of both baseball and softball in the country. In 1982-1984, Kars was the chairman of the baseball-part of the commission, which then became a joint baseball/softball-commission in 1985. From that moment on, he was a member of the commission, but then served again as its chairman from 1997 until 2006 when he resigned. After he stopped with his activities, Jan Kars was named Member of Merit of the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB).

Cees Hiele played a major role in the development of both baseball and basketball in the Utrecht-region. In 1963, he was the chairman of the youth committee of the Rayon 't Gooi-Utrecht, then was a secretary of that commission in 1968-1969 in the same sub-division of the Dutch Federation.

Hiele, who was a catcher, made his debut in the Netherlands National Baseball Team in 1960, which then played two international games against Belgium. In the same year, Hiele was a member of the team that participated in the European Championship in Barcelona (Spain). He then was a team-member of players such as Herman Beidschat, Flip le Cuivre, Rob Hoffmann, Jan Smidt, Joop Geurts, Han Urbanus, Henk Keulemans, Leo Kops, Simon Heemskerk, Simon Arrindell and Nol Houtkamp. In Barcelona, the Dutch Team again captured the European title.

...Cees Hiele during the 2012 reunion...
...of former national team-players...
...during the Haarlem Baseball Week...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Hiele started his baseball career after World War II at DOS in Utrecht. When he was stationed as weatherman at Air Force Base Gilze-Rijen, he played baseball there in a team that was formed by flighers from an American squadron. After completing his military service, Hiele went on play baseball at UVV. There, he became one of the baseball-pioneers of the club. This group realized a baseball-field for the club and it was Hiele, who approached American servicemen who were stationed at Air Force Base Soesterberg to play baseball for UVV and several of them did. They strenghtened the team, which promoted to the Dutch big league. Hiele was the catcher and captain of UVV in those years and Jan Kars also was one of the players.

Cees Hiele was able to arrange all kinds of things for his two passions, baseball and basketball. He created a street baseball-league and when took a lot of time, he stopped playing baseball at a high level in 1964. He later became a youth baseball coach at UVV and also coached a baseball-team of BSC Utrecht, which was created thanks to street baseball. In those years, he also set up a basketball-team in Utrecht, BC Markt. And he was one of the first persons to create a link with businesses interesting them in sponsoring.

It was thanks to his ongoing enthousiasm and organisational talents that Sports Hall Welgelegen was realized in Utrecht, which became a multifunctional sports complex for all kinds of sports.

In 2000, Cees Hiele received a Royal Decoration, but he also was named Sports Volunteer of the City Utrecht and was awarded the Sports Medallion of Utrecht.

The webmaster of Grand Slam * Stats & News offers his condolences to families of Cees Hiele and Jan Kars and wishes them a lot of strength.

(May 18)

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