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Updated: December 22, 2020
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Copyright © 1997-2020
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2020 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Marco Stoovelaar)


...Bill Froberg...
(1957 - 2020)...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Longtime big league and National Team-coach Bill Froberg passed away

BILTHOVEN (Neth.) - The Dutch baseball-family has to say goodbye to another beloved member, as veteran baseball-coach Bill Froberg passed away on Saturday, December 19 at the much too young age of 63. Froberg, who had a lot of baseball-knowledge, was a successful and passionate coach and led several teams in the Dutch big league. He also has been a coach of both the Netherlands National Team, as well as the Netherlands National Junior Team. Due to the current corona-measures, the memorial service on December 30 will be private.

William Benjamin Froberg was born on November 7, 1957 in Weymouth, which is the second oldest settlement in the State of Massachusetts (USA). The city was settled in 1622, two years after Plymouth, which was the first settlement in Massachusetts. Both cities are part of an area which has a wellknown history, as it was here that the first English settles arrived in Massachusetts on the Mayflower in Plymouth in 1620 and developed friendly relations with the native Wampanoag people.

After being a student at Weymouth South High School, Bill Froberg attended Massasoit Community College in Brockton, which is located in the Boston-area, where he grew up. There, Froberg studied, but also played in the baseball-team in the 1977-1979 college-seasons. In Froberg's seasons playing for the Warriors, the team was coached by Phil Pergola (1977) and Rich Scherza (1978-1979). In all three seasons, the team had a winning record in its regional conference. Hereafter, in 1979-1980, Froberg studied at Boston State College, which in 1982 merged with the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Froberg was a talented player (catcher/infielder) and was eventually signed by Kansas City Royals for whom he played in the Rookie League in 1980. After a brief Minor League-career, Froberg traveled to Europe the next year and went on playing in the Netherlands. He then turned to coaching, which became his real talent, as Froberg was a master in communicating with and teaching young players. He had an eye for details, was able to deliver his baseball-knowledge and was a keen coach.

Bill Froberg came to the Netherlands in 1981 to play for Utrecht-based club HMS, where he later also became the Head Coach. Froberg played for the team in 1981 and 1982 in the Second Division. He then was the playing coach in 1983 and 1984 for HMS, where former baseball journalist Johan Carbo was the club secretary and the team's business manager. After retiring as a player, he was the Head Coach of the team in 1985 and led HMS to first place, which resulted in promotion to the First Division.

Froberg already showed his coaching skills in 1982 when he played an important role within HMS. In that year, the club decided to form a joint junior baseball-team with BSCU, another club from Utrecht, as HMS had not enough players to form a team itself. Nico de Bie retired as player of BSCU to coach the team (called Mets) and Froberg assisted during practice sessions.

It was also in 1982 that Froberg showed another side of him. As he already had some writing experience about baseballl back home in the USA, Froberg covered the Haarlem Baseball Week this year for Inside. This monthly Dutch magazine covered baseball and softball for 18 years under the editorial leading of Joop Köhler. HMS-boardmember Johan Carbo also was one a regular contributor of this magazine, as was the author of this article.

...Bill Froberg with Pitching Coach Bert Blyleven during... exhibition game of the Netherlands Team in Florida (USA)... prepare for the 2009 World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Amongst the American players who played in the Dutch big league in the early eighties when Froberg first played in the Netherlands were John Brickley, Scott Donop, Steve Donovan, Kerry Freedman, Bob Frishette, Steve Matthew, Kevin McDonald, Craig McGinnis, Douglas Morton, Craig Montvidas, Eddy Rose, Joe Ross and Joe Westmoreland. In those years, most Americans playing in the Netherlands (whatever league they played in), annually played in several games of the Dutch American All Stars. That team played games against the Netherlands National Baseball Team as part of its preparations for either the Haarlem Baseball Week or a European Championship.

His coaching talents were noticed quickly and in 1986, he made his debut as coach in the Dutch big league. In 1986, Haarlem Nicols, one of the most successful teams in Dutch history, was to be led by Berry Eijgendaal, who was a appointed as successor of longtime coach Jan-Dick Leurs. However, Eijgendaal withdraw during the exhibition season and Bill Froberg took over the position of Head Coach. In that season, Froberg was one of two American coaches in the highest league, the other being Lyle Olsen (Kinheim). In his first season, he led Nicols to a 25-20 record, finishing in fourth place.

The next year, Froberg also was the Head Coach of Haarlem Nicols, assisted first by Herman Beidschat, later by Leo Naaktgeboren. In that season (1987), Froberg was the lone American Head Coach, but Dave Daniels was an Assistant Coach at Amsterdam Pirates. For the first time, the winners of the first and second half of the regular season were to meet in the first Holland Series. In the first half, Nicols was 19-8 and finished in second place behind Neptunus, which therefore qualfied for the Championship Final. In the second half, the team was 10-5, but lost a crucial game to Amsterdam Pirates, which therefore captured first place. In the Holland Series, Amsterdam Pirates won the best-of-three against Neptunus to win its first Championship-title. After the 1987 season, Jan-Dick Leurs, who had become the General Manager of Nicols in August, returned as Head Coach for the 1988 season.

Playing for Haarlem Nicols in these two seasons were Frank Bos (1987), Robert Eenhoorn (1987), Mark Giroldi (1987), Ron Giroldi, Jan van Gorkum, Bill Groot (1987), Gerlach Halderman, Martin Helmig (1986), Marcel Joost, Frank Koks, Hans Lemmink, Craig McGinnis (1987), Bob Pels (1986), Han Prinsen, Elliot Rivera (1986), Danny Scheer, Jim Sieval (1986), Thijs Vervaat and Haitze de Vries. Many of these players also played in the Netherlands National Team.

After his first years with HMS, Froberg decided to stay in the Netherlands. In 1986, he went on to work for Capgemini in Utrecht as a facility manager (later contract manager) and worked for the company through 2012. Froberg married and his son Jim Froberg also started playing baseball. Froberg Junior played in the big league for HCAW in 2011-2015.

...As Head Coach of HCAW, Bill Froberg has a talk with...
...pitcher Robin van Eis and catcher Joep van Els during...
...a game in the 2010 season against Amsterdam Pirates...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
After the 1987 season, Bill Froberg returned to HMS, where he was the Head Coach again in 1988 and 1989 when the team played in the First Division. The team finished in second place in 1989. Afterwards, Froberg won the Coach of the Year Award.

Hereafter, Froberg continued his coaching career with Twins Oosterhout, which then played in the second highest league (Overgangsklasse). Froberg led the team for three seasons and got close to promotion to the highest league twice. In 1991, Twins finished in first place, but then lost the Promotion/Relegation Series against Quick Amersfoort. The following season, Twins finished in second place.

As mentioned, Froberg had an eye for details and for talent. He gave advice to players when needed, whether that was hitting or pitching or fielding. That made him an excellent scout. And that is something he did since 1992 when he was appointed scout for Major League-organization Atlanta Braves. Later, he became a scouting coordinator in Europe for the Braves.

Bill Froberg returned as coach in the big league in 1993, his first as Head Coach of Quick Amersfoort, where he succeeded Richard Simon. His first season in Amersfoort was successful from the beginning. The team closed the regular season with a 27-14-1 record to finish in first place and qualify for the Play-Offs. Quick then played an exciting best-of-five against Neptunus, which won the series 3-2 to reach the Holland Series.

1993 was the first of four seasons that Bill Froberg was the Head Coach of Quick Amersfoort. In the first three seasons, he was assisted by club-icons Jerrel Bernardus and Ricardo Bryson. In 1996, Franco Martis assisted Froberg.

In 1994, Quick Amersfoort missed the Play-Offs, finishing in fifth place. Despite having a solid team, two tough seasons followed in 1995 and 1996. The team then finished in sixth and eight place respectively. By finishing in eight place in 1996, the team relegated from the big league.

Amongst the players Froberg coached at Quick Amersfoort were Ron Agterberg, Peter Callenbach, Marlon Fluonia, Patrick van Heyningen, Anthony Hosé, Jacky Jaoba, Dirk van 't Klooster, Clive Mendes, Nelson Orman, Lloyd Todman, Renier de Vries and Juani Werleman.

...Bill Froberg during his first event as coach of the Netherlands Baseball...
...Team during the 2007 World Championship in Taiwan...
...At right, as seen on television in the stadium's press box...
(© Both Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)
Since the late eighties through the nineties, several other big league-teams also were coached by Americans who mostly first had played in either the big league or lower. Amongst them were Craig Montvidas (HCAW), Jim Shuster (Sparta), Dave Daniels (several teams), Mike Baker (Haarlem Nicols), Craig McGinnis (HCAW), Brian Farley (Twins Oosterhout), Bruce Heiser (Hoofddorp Pioniers) and Jeffery Calderone (RCH). In these years, there were a few seasons in which four of the eight teams in the big league had an American Head Coach.

After the 1996 season, Bill Froberg was named Head Coach of Rotterdam-based Neptunus, which had been eliminated that year in the Play-Offs by HCAW. Froberg succeeded Jan Collins, who stayed on as Froberg's assistant in 1997. The team then was 31-10-1, but was eliminated in the Play-Offs by Hoofddorp Pioniers, which went on to win the Championship-title.

In the 1998 season, there were several coaching changes at Neptunus. Initially, Jan Collins returned as Head Coach with Froberg as his Assistant Coach. Early June, the two switched positions again. In the following 13 games, Neptunus won eleven, but then a separation followed between the club and Froberg in early August. Collins became the Head Coach again and Paul van den Oever replaced Froberg. That construction lasted six games. Thereafter, in the remainder of the season, the team was led by Robert Eenhoorn, who had returned from the USA where he had concluded his professional career in the organization of the New York Mets. Eenhoorn then also became the Head Coach for the 1999 season.

Amongst the Neptunus-players in 1997 and 1998 were Bob van Aalen, Ron Agterberg, Johnny Balentina, Ken Brauckmiller, Eric de Bruin, Marcel Buurman, Rob Cordemans, Eddie Dix, Pecy Isenia, Ronald Jaarsma, Adonis Kemp, Elton Koeiman, Geoffry Kohl, Marcel Kruyt, Wim Martinus, Erik Remmerswaal and Jeroen Sluijter.

Bill Froberg's coaching qualities were also noted by the Dutch Association. The very knowledgeable coach was named Manager of the Netherlands National Junior Team in 1999, a position he held until 2003. In these years, Froberg again underscored that he was a good baseball-teacher, had a lot of baseball-knowledge and had a good working relationship with young players. When leading the Juniors, Froberg was assisted in the first four years by Peter Boon, while Frans Groot was the Pitching Coach in the first two years. In 2001, Tom Geestman and Peter van Dalen joined the coaching-staff as respectively Pitching Coach and Hitting Coach.

In 2003, Bill Froberg made his comeback as club-coach. In July of that year, he was named Bench Coach of HCAW for the last ten games of the regular season. HCAW, which then was led by Nelson Orman, went on to reach the Holland Series, but lost 3-2 in the best-of-five Final.

...Bill Froberg during the playing of the National Anthem before... exhibition game of the Netherlands Team in Florida (USA)... prepare for the 2009 World Baseball Classic...
...Standing besides Froberg are infielder Sharlon Schoop,... Ben Thijssen, pitcher Berry van Driel and... Hensley Meulens...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
After the season, Froberg succeeded Orman and was HCAW's Head Coach in 2004 and 2005. In those two seasons, Maurice De Conge was his Pitching Coach (and also pitched himself), while Maurice Cranston (2004) and Clive Mendes (2005) were his Bench Coach. Both seasons were successful for the Bussum-club, but it was unable to capture the Championship-title. In 2004, HCAW finished in first place of the regular season with a 34-6 record and went on to qualify again for the Holland Series. However, like the year before, the team then lost in the Final against Neptunus. In 2005, the team ended up in third place, but reached the Play-Offs and again played in the Holland Series. But in the Final, HCAW was left empty-handed against Neptunus. After the season, Froberg was succeeded as Head Coach by De Conge.

Amongst the players who came into action for HCAW in these 2004 and 2005 seasons were Jeffrey Cranston, Maurice De Conge, Jeroen Deken, Dave Draijer, Cliff Foster, Nick Fridsma, Eugene Henson, Ronald Jaarsma, Bas de Jong, Jos de Jong, Sidney de Jong, Michiel van Kampen, Lars Koehorst, Jurjan Koenen, Patrick de Lange, Loek van Mil, Ralph Milliard and Nick Stuifbergen.

2005 marked the last season that HCAW qualified for the Play-Offs to decide the championship. It took until 2017 for the team to return to the Top-4 Pool.

In 2007, Bill Froberg was the Manager again of the Netherlands National Juniors Team, assisted by Eddie Dix (infield/outfield), Peter van Dalen (hitting) and Ken Brauckmiller (pitching). In that year, the team won the Bronze Medal at the European Juniors Championship, which was played in Rosmalen (Netherlands). Also that year, the Orange Juniors participated in the Kingdom Games, which then were held in The Hague (Netherlands).

,,He was an amiable person'', said Peter van Dalen, who currently is the Head Coach of the women's softball-team of Sparks Haarlem in the Dutch big league. ,,We had a nice time together, we laughed a lot. When you are on a trip, you are are being together for a week or longer. After a game, we always had a good time and talked a lot about baseball. He was a winner. I've learned of him, in coaching, in tactical aspects. Bill was a great person.''

With the Orange Juniors, Froberg participated in three World Championships, three European Championships and two Kingdom Games. At the Under-18 World Championships, the Juniors were unable to reach the Play-Offs in 1999, 2000 and 2002. The team was more successful at the European Championships. Playing with a young group of players, the team finished in third place in 2001. The Orange-squad then captured the title in 2003, beating Italy in the Final. As mentioned, in his comeback-year with the team in 2007, the Netherlands finished in third place. The Orange Juniors also won the Kingdom Games in 2001 when the event was held in Rotterdam (Netherlands).

Later in 2007, then National Team Manager Robert Eenhoorn added Froberg to his coaching-staff as 1B Coach for the World Championship that was organized in Taiwan in November. Froberg replaced Jack Hubbard, who was a member of the coaching-staff, but was unavailable at the end of the year. In 2009, Froberg returned to the National Team as 1B Coach for World Baseball Classic with Rod Delmonico as Manager. During the second edition of this global event, the Netherlands Team played some great games. In San Juan (Puerto Rico), the Orange Team defeated the star-studded professional team of the Dominican Republic twice. First with a 3-2 score in the First Round, then 2-1 in eleven innings in the Elimination Game. With that, the Netherlands qualified for the Second Round, which was played in Miami, Florida (USA). The other members of the coaching-staff were Hensley Meulens, Bert Blyleven, Jim Stoeckel, Wim Martinus and Ben Thijssen. Froberg also was the team's 1B Coach later in the year during the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam (Netherlands), where the Dutch Team finished in fourth place.

...Bill Froberg as Head Coach...
...of HCAW in 2011...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
On August 24, 2009, Bill Froberg again returned to club-coaching and made a comeback with HCAW. On that day, Froberg succeeded Jurjan Koenen as Head Coach for the remainder of the season (Play-Downs) with Ronald Jaarsma staying on as 3B Coach and Frans Groot as Pitching Coach. In 2010, Froberg led HCAW the entire season, assisted by Jaarsma and Groot. In that season, the Bussum-team had three Venezuelan players, pitcher Roger Luque and powerhitting infielders Wuillians Vasquez and Dirimo Chavez. Froberg, Jaarsma and Groot returned for the 2011 season, but on May 31, HCAW and Head Coach Froberg separated after a disappointing start of the season. The team was 6-15 when Froberg left and he was succeeded by Ronald Jaarsma, while Roy Berrevoets became Bench Coach.

2011 was the last year in which Froberg was active as a club-coach. In his twelve seasons as Head Coach in the highest league, Froberg was 245-188 with eight games ending in a tie. With three teams, he participated in the European Cup-tournament. In 1986, Froberg led Haarlem Nicols to third place. He then finished in second place with Neptunus (1997) and HCAW (2005).

,,Bill was the common thread in my career'', reacted Ronald Jaarsma, who played for Froberg at Neptunus and HCAW and coached with him at HCAW. ,,He was my first coach in the big league when I played for Neptunus. That was our first acquaintance. Later, I played for him at HCAW and then we coached together. I then succeeded him as Head Coach after the team had some disappointing results. That surely was not his fault, but you know this can happen as a coach. It was the lone time in his career that he was fired. He coached at many different levels.''

Jaarsma, who currently is the Head Coach of the big league baseball-team of Neptunus, continued: ,,He was a lovely man, who did everything for the team and for a person, sometimes to the extreme. Sometimes a player had some difficulties with that, but Bill then always had a talk to clarify matters. With that, he got a lot of respect from players.''

Froberg was back in uniform in 2013 when he was the coach of Cavaliers, one of the participating teams in the first edition of the Under-12 Battle at the Castle, which organized by Twins Oosterhout. Playing in that team were future Dutch big leaguers Finn Kops, Scott Prins and Mick Vos. He also coached at the event in following years, being a member of the coaching-staff of John Debbaut, who led the Under-14 Emperors in 2015 and 2016.

Through the years, Froberg also served as a instructor during youth baseball trainings camps. In 2009, the first National Baseball and Softball Clinic (NBSC) was organized and Froberg was one of the first instructors. For his many contributions to this organization, he was elected to the Wall of Fame of the NBSC. Froberg also was active as an instructor for the HCAW Baseball Academy for many years. With this, combined with his coaching at the club-level and the National Teams, Froberg had a big contribution in player development through the years. For this, he won the Leen Volkerijk Award in 2003.

Bill Froberg was an sympathetic and approachable coach, who always had time to talk. Whether it was someone of the media, a player, a club-member or a fan. Off the field, he always had a smiling face. On the field, he was passionate and driven, wanting the best of his players and his team. That sometimes could result in some fiercely arguments with umpires when he thought a discussion was needed. But he always respected the umpires and accepted their decisions. Bill Froberg's baseball-knowledge, friendship and presence will surely be missed by many of us.

The webmaster of Grand Slam * Stats & News offers his condolences to Bill's wife Lilian, son Jim and other family and wishes them a lot of strength with this big loss.

(December 22)

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