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Updated: June 23, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Milestone for umpire Henri van Heijningen

...Henri van Heijningen...
...700 games in Dutch big league...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
THE HAGUE (Neth.) - Veteran baseball-umpire Henri van Heijningen reached a milestone on Saturday (June 23) in his long career of officiating at the highest level. During the game between Silicon Storks and Cityside Apartments Quick Amersfoort in The Hague, Van Heijningen was behind the plate and officiated in what was his 700th regular season-game.

Van Heijningen became only the third umpire in history to reach this mark. The list is headed by Fred van Groningen Schinkel, who last season retired after having been active in 1,257 official regular season-games in a 46-year career. With that, Van Groningen Schinkel set a record that probably never will be broken, but you never know.

In second place is Henk Meerleveld, who umpired in 745 games and retired after the 2008 season. This total is within reach of Van Heijningen, who can pass Meerleveld next season.

Henri van Heijningen played baseball for the now defunct club DOS '32 in Rotterdam. He then became an umpire in 1983 in the then Southwest Netherlands District. After having officiated in several different leagues through the years, Van Heijningen climbed up the ladder and promoted to the Dutch big league. He officiated in his first game at the highest level on April 30, 1991. That means that Van Heijningen is now active in his 28th season at the highest level, which makes him one of the most experienced umpires at this moment.

In the eighties, Van Heijningen accompanied the promotional baseball-team Trail Blazers as an umpire on two trips to the east of Europe. During these trips, the team played games and promoted the sport in Poland, the former Czechoslovakia and the former Soviet Union.

...Henri van Heijningen needs 46 games to move into...
...second place on the all-time list...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Van Heijningen made his international debut in 1998 during the Apeldoorn Baseball Series, the annual youth-tournament organized by Robur '58 in Apeldoorn (Netherlands).

In 2000, he made his international debut at the senior-level when he officiated in his first Haarlem Baseball Week in Haarlem (Netherlands). Since that year, Van Heijningen participated as an umpire annually in international events.

Amongst his tournaments as umpire are three World Championships, one Intercontinental Cup, one Olympic Qualifying Tournament, three European Championships, one European Championship Cadets, 19 European Cup-tournaments (Qualifiers, European Cup, CupWinners Cup, CEB Cup, Super Cup), eight Haarlem Baseball Weeks and eight World Port Tournaments. Van Heijningen also was an umpire during three Dutch All Star Games.

On Sunday, Van Heijningen again will be the Home Plate Umpire, but then in the game between Curaçao Neptunus and HCAW in Rotterdam. Coming Monday, Van Heijningen travels to Czech capital Prague, where he will be one of the umpires during the Prague Baseball Week.

(June 23)

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