(Story & Photo by Marco Stoovelaar)
Former baseball-umpire Paul Barts passed away
(1945 - 2019)...
EINDHOVEN (Neth.) -
Former baseball-umpire Paul Barts, who also has been a member of the baseball/softball umpire's association, passed away on Tuesday, December 10, a month after turning 74.
The memorial service will be held on Tuesday, December 17 at 10:45 AM in the Luxzaal of the Crematorium Rijtackers at the Anthony Fokkerweg 150 in Eindhoven.
Paul Barts, who was born on November 12, 1945, was active as a baseball-umpire for several years.
He also has been closely involved in the organization of the annual weekends of the then-called Baseball and Softball Umpires Association (BUBS) in the late seventies, early eighties.
Paul Barts started his umpiring career in what then was called the East-Brabant/Limburg Region.
Until the early nineties, baseball and softball in the Netherlands was divided in some nine Regions, which all had their own regional competitions.
The best teams in the highest leagues had a chance to promote to the national leagues.
In 1973, Paul Barts officiated his first game as an umpire in East-Brabant/Limburg.
He immediately showed talent, as he promoted the next year and then also was eligible for games at a national level.
Barts also continued umpiring at the regional level through 1975.
He remained an umpire at the national level through 1985, then retired.
In later years of his career, Barts promoted to the Dutch big league.
His umpiring style was always relaxed and calm.
When a coach or player argued a decision, Barts always stayed calm and gave an answer or an explanation.
He seldom ejected someone.
In the south of the country, Paul Barts also was active in Umpiring Committees.
In 1975, he was both the chairman and secretary of the Umpiring Committee in the Region East-Brabant/Limburg, which later merged with the Region West-Brabant/Zeeland to become the South Region.
In 1983, Barts returned to the same Committee in what was then Region South.
He also was a member of this Committee in 1986-1987.
Other committee-members in these years were umpires Gerard Siep, Vincent Paulus and Jan Vlasveld.
In 1975, Paul Barts became the treasurer of the Baseball and Softball Umpires Association (BUBS), succeeding Dick Mos.
Barts handled the finaces of the Association through 1978, then remained a member through 1981.
Other members of the Association's Board when Barts was a member included Rob Witteveen (chairman), Jos Gieskens (chairman), Bert Staller (secretary/chairman), Al Vogel (secretary), Roel Meijering (secretary), Cees Bouterse (treasurer), Jos de Champs (member), Piet van Rijswijk (member), Jan van Lierop (member) and Ede Pool (member).
Some years ago, the Association changed its name to also include Official Scorers and Commissioners, but the used abbrevation (BUBS) remained the same.
...Paul Barts with Major League Umpire Nick Bremigan...
...during a clinic in the Netherlands in 1985...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Almost since the start, the BUBS organizes an annual weekend (mostly in February) in which the baseball- and softball-umpires get together.
Later official scorers and umpiring commissioners also joined.
During the weekend, several clinics are conducted.
There also are practical clinics in which umpires get instructions in calling balls and strikes, making calls at the bases and moving around on the field.
The early BUBS-weekends were held at Spaarnberg, which was located near the site of Terrasvogels in Santpoort-Zuid.
In later years, the weekend moved to Eindhoven.
It was there that Paul Barts was mostly in charge of the organization.
While not being a boardmember anymore, Barts remained active for the BUBS and the organization of its clinics and weekends in following years.
During his career and thereafter, he frequently visited umpiring clinics in what was then West-Germany.
There, in Wiesbaden or Frankfurt, umpires, coaches and players from the Major League gave clinics at American military bases.
Through the years, several Dutch coaches and umpires regularly visited these clinics.
During one of his visits in February 1985, Barts invited then-Major League Umpire Nick Bremigan to come to the Netherlands.
Bremigan accepted and a week later, after his German visit, he stayed a few days at the home of Paul Barts in Eindhoven and gave a clinic for Dutch umpires.
For his many contributions, Paul Barts was named Honorary Member of the BUBS.
In 1986, the World Championship Baseball was organized for the first time in the Netherlands.
One of the four playing sites then was Eindhoven, the home-town of Barts.
During the event, Barts was involved in the local Organizing Committee.
Paul Barts always had been modest and never put himself in the foreground.
He was that way on and off the field.
But he knew what what he wanted and handled the postions of the umpires within the BUBS very well.
The webmaster of Grand Slam * Stats & News offers his condolences to the family of Paul and wishes them a lot of strength with this loss.