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Updated: December 12, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Piet Sterk & Marco Stoovelaar)


...Gerrit Sluijters...
(1932 - 2018)
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Former Umpire and Observer Gerrit Sluijters passed away

AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - Former longtime baseball-umpire observer Gerrit Sluijters passed away on Friday, November 30 at the age of 86 after a brief illness. In the past few years, Sluijters encountered some health problems. The memorial ceremony and cremation service was held on Thursday, December 6.

Gerardus Maria Sluijters was born on June 7, 1932 in Amsterdam and was associated for many years with baseball- and softball-clubs Quick Amsterdam and Amsterdam Pirates.

Gerrit Sluijters, who was the nephew of former Dutch big league-pitcher Henk Boeren, played baseball himself for Quick, then focused more on umpiring. In the seventies, he became involved with Amsterdam Pirates, where his daughters Mirjam and Ingrid started playing softball. Both went on to play in the main softball-team of the club. Mirjam also played for the Netherlands Junior Team as well as the Netherlands National Team as a pitcher. Gerrit himself also played softball at Pirates for some years.

In the seventies, Gerrit Sluijters started umpiring baseball-games in the Amsterdam District, which he continued to do through 1987. He also officiated in softball-games in 1986 and 1987. Besides being assigned to games in the Amsterdam-area, he also frequently crawled behind the plate to officiate home-games of lower level-teams and youth-teams of Amsterdam Pirates.

Gerrit Sluijters never was an umpire in the top baseball-leagues, but was known for his extensive knowledge of both the playing rules, as well as the mechanics of umpiring. And he was able to explain the rules very well. This made his a good well-certified to become an Umpire Observer in 1984. An Umpire Obsverver overlooks the activities of umpires and made notes during a specific game. Afterwards, a written report has to be send to the Umpiring Commissioner. Sluijters looked at umpires at all levels, including the Dutch big league.

As an Umpire Observer, Sluijters was known to be very critical, but always gave well-thought advise to umpires and told them what they did right and wrong in the game he had just watched. Not all (new) umpires liked his approach. Sluijters sometimes was upset when an umpire reacted as if he already 'knew it all' and needed no advices from an experienced mentor. He said that when an umpire moved up to a higher division, some of them were thinking that they already 'had arrived'. But that's something that not only happened in those years. However, Sluijters never went a discussion out of the way and continued to be an Umpire Observer through 2011 (except for two years), then retired after being active in this position for 26 years. In the past years, Sluijters closely worked together with some other Amsterdam-based Observers, including Willem Broertjes and Piet Sterk.

...Gerrit Sluijters in a characteristic pose with pen and paper...
...always ready to make notes...
(© Photo: Piet Sterk)
Shortly after starting his umpiring career in the Amsterdam District, Sluijters became a member of the Umpiring Commission in Amsterdam. For eleven years (through 1989), he looked over the umpiring affairs in Amsterdam with fellow-commission members Jaap Kuggeleijn, Nico Dalmulder and Willem Broertjes. From 1986 through 1989, he also was a member of the Protest Commission in Amsterdam. In the same period (1987-1989), Gerrit Sluijters also was a member of the Board of the Amsterdam District.

In 1993, Sluijters became involved in umpiring development, as he became a member of the Workgroup Umpiring Development for baseball and softball. Through 1999, he remained active in this commission, which in the first two years also included (former) umpires Paul Bokern, Anne de Bruijne, Ede Pool and René Sterkenburg. They were later joined by Fred van Groningen Schinkel, Bob Krijnen, Marlies Struyvé and Gijs Selderijk. All of these commission-members also served as lecturers during umpiring clinics.

Through the years, Gerrit Sluijters was a frequent participant in the annual baseball- and softball-umpires weekend, mostly in February, where new and experienced umpires got clinics and instructions, were observed, learned how to sit behind a catcher and participated in intersquad-games where situations were created. This weekend still is organized each year some two months before the start of a new season. Besides first taking part as an umpire and later a lecturer in these weekends, Sluijters also was able to talk a lot about baseball. Not only about the sport itself, but also regarding all kinds of rules and situations during a game and how to handle them as an umpire, which sometimes led to lenghty discussions. And he loved to participate in a game of cards in the evenings.

Playing cards was also something he passionately did every winter at Amsterdam Pirates. Through the years, he also showed his skills as a worksman specialized in electricity, whenever construction-work needed to be done at the site of the club.

In 1998, after having been active for some twenty years, Gerrit Sluijters was decorated by the KNBSB.

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

(December 12)

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