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Updated: October 28, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Alfred Cop & Marco Stoovelaar)


...Julio Hazel...
(1942 - 2018)
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Former player and coach Julio Hazel passed away

SAN NICOLAS (Aruba) - Former baseball-player and coach Julio Hazel passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, October 3 at the age of 75. He would have turned 76 in December.

The memorial service and funeral of Julio Hazel was held on October 13 at the Central Cemetery in Sabana Basora.

Aruba-born Julio Fernando Hazel played in the Dutch big league in the sixties and early seventies and became a much-loved person, who always had a bright smile on his face. He initially played for Amsterdam-based VVGA, which was one of the oldest clubs in the country, being founded in 1924. After a merger, the club's name was changed to HVGA and later, the club moved to Diemen to become Giants Diemen.

Hazel, who was an outfielder and mostly played in centerfield, first played in the highest division for VVGA in 1965. Hereafter, Hazel also played for the team when it was known as HVGA in 1966. He moved with the club to Diemen and played for Giants when it played in the second highest league (First Division) in 1967.

Hereafter, Hazel transfered to Bussum-based HCAW. There, the outfielder played for five seasons at the big league-level (1968-1972) and was a solid contact-hitter. In 1970, Hazel batted .390 to become the third best hitter in the league behind Hudson John (.436, Storks) and Boudewijn Maat (.400, Haarlem Nicols).

After the 1972 season, Hazel ended his playing career and turned to coaching. During the 1972 season, Hazel combined his playing with being the Assistant Coach of the team. He then was named Head Coach of HCAW for the 1973 season, succeeding Jan Prins. In that year, HCAW finished in fourth place in Pool A, as the big league was divided in two pools that season. HCAW secured its spot in the highest league for 1974, but Hazel didn't return as coach. After completion of the 1973 season, Hazel stepped down, as he planned to return to the Antilles for a longer period. Hazel was succeeded by Jan Schriek. While playing for HCAW, Hazel also participated annually in the end-of-the-season-softbal-tournament at its site in Bussum.

...Last year, on June 10, Julio Hazel threw the ceremonial first...
...ball before HCAW's Old Stars Slowpitch Softball Game, which...
...was part of the club's 60th anniversary at its site in Bussum...
(© Photo: Alfred Cop Fotografie)
Julio Hazel returned to the Netherlands and to coaching in 1976 when he first coached the baseball-team of Hilversum. That was the start of a long affiliation with that club. In 1977, Hazel led the team to the championship-title in the Second Division, resulting in promotion to the First Division, which then was the second highest league. After having led Hilversum for five seasons (1976-1980), Hazel was named Head Coach of the big league-team of Quick Amersfoort for the 1981 season. There, Hazel was assisted by Roley Wout.

In 1986 and 1987, Hazel again coached at Hilversum, which then played in the Second Division. Hereafter, Hazel returned to the big league in 1988 as Head Coach of UVV, where he was assisted by Maurice Cranston.

In 1966, Hazel made his debut in the Netherlands National Baseball Team during the Haarlem Baseball Week. During the international event, the outfielder played in five of the six games. That includes an official international game against the National Team of the Netherlands Antilles.

In 1971, Hazel was selected again for the National Team for the Haarlem Baseball Week. On the first day of the event, Hazel was in the starting line-up for the game against USAFE, but that game rained out. In the next game, then-Manager Hal Smeltzly didn't use Hazel, who also didn't play when the game against USAFE was made up the following day. Instead, the American Manager uses two infielders to play in the outfield. For Hazel, this was unacceptable, prompting him to leave the team. He informed the team-management of his decision and returned home. In a newspaper-interview shortly thereafter, Hazel stated: ,,I'm no player to sit on the bench, but I know that there have to be persons on the bench. That's no problem. Also when I have to be the one. But in that case, other outfielders have to play in the team.''

In the eighties and nineties, Julio Hazel played in several of the annual Antillian Oldtimers Games between teams compiled with players from Aruba and Curaçao. Some years ago, Hazel returned to Aruba.

The webmaster of Grand Slam * Stats & News offers his condolences to Julio's family and wishes them a lot of strength with this loss.

(October 5)

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