(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Noord-Hollands Archief/Fotoburo de Boer/Poppe de Boer, Kinheim, De Kieviten & Marco Stoovelaar)
Hall of Famer, Honorary Member KNBSB, Softball-administrator, Kinheim-icon Wim Oosterhof passed away
(1928 - 2021)...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
HAARLEM (Neth.) -
Wim Oosterhof, who has been involved in baseball and softball-activities for eighty years, passed away on Tuesday-evening (May 4) at the age of 93.
Through the years, mister Oosterhof served in numerous functions within his club Kinheim, was one of the club-icons, but he can rightfully be called 'Mr. Kinheim'.
Wim Oosterhof was inducted into the Netherlands Baseball and Softball Hall of Fame in 2008.
It is another sad period for the Dutch baseball- and softball-community.
Last Thursday (April 29), former Official Scorer and Rayon Amsterdam-administrator Fiet Aussen passed away at age 92.
On Tuesday-morning, former KNBSB-boardmember and former European Softball Federation (ESF) President André van Overbeek passed away at age 71.
The memorial service of Wim Oosterhof will be held on Wednesday, May 12 at 3:30 PM at Crematory Sterrenheuvel in Haarlem.
Due to the current measures, the ceremony will be held in private, but can be followed via a livestream.
The access code is 317502.
Wim Oosterhof was born on January 7, 1928 in Bloemendaal.
Where do you have to start when you talk about Wim Oosterhof?
He can surely be labeled as a multifunctional 'Jack-of-all-trades'.
Wim Oosterhof was a pioneer in Dutch softball, has been a member of the Board of his club HCK (Kinheim), the Royal Netherlands Baseball Association (KNHB), the Netherlands Amateur Softball Federation (NASB), the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB), the European Softball Federation (ESF) and Dutch Alumni-club De Kieviten.
Within the City of Haarlem, as a volunteer, he served in administrative functions in almost twenty foundations.
Wim was always busy and loved to be active in administrative and organizational activities.
Talking and writing about Wim Oosterhof is taking a road down memory-lane through the rich past of baseball and softball in the Netherlands, as he closely worked with several wellknown personalities from our history.
Although there are 24 hours in a day, Wim Oosterhof must have found some extra hours somewhere when you look at the long list of things he had done through the years.
After his military service, Wim Oosterhof worked for one year (May 1950-May 1951) in Indonesia, which had become an independent country shortly before after having been known as Dutch East Indies since 1816.
While in Indonesia, stationed in capital Djakarta, he handed over equipment and parts of the Netherlands Army to the Indonesian Army.
Upon returning in the Netherlands, Oosterhof entered the police academy in Hilversum in September 1951.
When he had finished the police education two years later, he initially was stationed in the City of The Hague.
In 1955, he became an inspector of police in his home-city Haarlem.
That was the beginning of long career in the Haarlem police-corps.
In 1981-1988, Wim Oosterhof was the Chief of Police of Haarlem and also served as interim Commissioner.
When he retired in January 1988, the national police corps was re-aligned in several new regions.
Then Haarlem-Mayor Elizabeth Schmitz requested Oosterhof to continue for two more years as a regional coordinator, which he did.
...Wim Oosterhof during his retirement as...|
...Police Commissioner in January 1988 with his...
...wife Hennie and sons Onno and Willem...
...in front of the Head Police Office in Haarlem...
...The officer on the horse is Rob Kerkman,...
...who also was a longtime (international)...
...softball-umpire and commissioner...
(© Photo: Noord-Hollands Archief/
Fotoburo de Boer/Poppe de Boer)
Wim's sportive career begins somewhere in 1942 when he starts playing baseball for HCK, which stands for Honkbal Club Kinheim (Baseball Club Kinheim).
Founded in 1935, Kinheim is one of the oldest clubs in the Netherlands.
The club was named after the Kinheimpark, which was located in Bloemendaal that borders Haarlem.
Also in the forties, his plays soccer at BVC Bloemendaal, which also had a successful baseball- and softball-section in later years.
In 1949, Oosterhof became the secretary of the board of Bloemendaal.
Another longtime boardmember at Bloemendaal is Gerard Voogd with whom Wim works closely in many years to follow.
Shortly thereafter, he becomes a member of the board of Kinheim, the club of which he has been a member for eighty years!
In all those years, Wim Oosterhof does all kinds of activities within the club, which moves from Bloemendaal via several locations to its most known site at the Badmintonpad.
There, the Municipal Sports Complex is located and its baseball-field is used by several clubs, including HCK.
In later years, HCK becomes the lone club to call this intimate and cozy ballpark its home for both baseball and softball.
In 1973, the club opened its club-house.
That became the scene for several long post-game discussions while enjoying some drinks.
Kinheim developed into a successful club.
Not only in baseball, but also with its softball-section that was added in 1948.
It were Joop van Wendel de Joode and player/coach Bep van Beijmerwerdt who played important roles in the softball-section of the club.
Other active persons within HCK since those years include Paul Paul, Arie van Driel Krol, Dries de Zwaan and Cor Zandstra.
Wim Oosterhof served in several functions at HCK, including handling the administration for game-affairs.
In the Spring of 1956, he became chairman and led the club for several years.
HCK (Kinheim) always had close international contacts.
In the years following World War II, the club organized games against American military teams that were stationed in then West-Germany.
That led to annual games against Wiesbaden Flyers.
That team was led by wellknown coach Chuck Costello, who played an important role in bringing American military teams from Europe into the field of participants of the Haarlem Baseball Week in the sixties.
The Kinheim softball-women played several games against teams from Springfield College from the USA.
Wim Oosterhof was one of the HCK-persons who oversaw these international contacts.
From the seventies on, the main baseball-squad of Kinheim regularly had American players, as well as some American coaches.
Several of these players stayed in the house of the Oosterhof-family, which always has been very hospitable.
When wellknown American coach Bill Arce and his wife Nancy visited the Netherlands, the couple stayed at the Oosterhof-house in Haarlem.
Wim Oosterhof always tried to stay in touch with the foreign players and guests of Kinheim through the years.
Wim and his wife Hennie also kept in contact with former softball-player Bep van Beijmerwerdt after she had emigrated to the USA in the sixties.
Bill Arce passed away in 2016, Bep van Beijmerwerdt in 2019.
Following the successful European Baseball Championship in 1958, organized in Dutch capital Amsterdam, it was Gé Hoogenbos, who came up with the idea to organize an international tournament.
Hoogenbos played for Haarlem-based HHC (and later EHS) and pitched the idea to the municipal council of Haarlem, which immediately showed interest.
Hoogenbos always had been inventive, had several ideas to promote the sport of baseball and covered baseball in De Telegraaf newspaper.
In the sixties, Hoogenbos also suggested a merger between EHS and EDO, which led to the creation of Haarlem Nicols.
In 1961, it was Haarlem's alderman for sports Daaf Geluk who played an important role in the realization of the first International Baseball Tournament in Haarlem.
Already during that event, the name Haarlem Baseball Week was created.
And that was the beginning of the long history of this international tournament that is organized every two years.
...Wim Oosterhof with then-Netherlands Team Manager...|
...Jim Stoeckel and global baseball ambassador Bill Arce during...
...the Haarlem Baseball Week 2010 in Haarlem (Netherlands)...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Wim Oosterhof was involved in the organization of the tournament right from the beginning.
The first tournament was held at the Municipal Sports Complex, located at the Badmintonpad.
At that time, the baseball-field was used by several clubs, including Oosterhof's club HCK.
Two years later, the Pim Mulier Stadium was opened in time for the second tournament.
This stadium still is the location of the Baseball Week and also is the current home of Kinheim.
From 1961, Oosterhof was either active of in attendance during all Haarlem Baseball Weeks organized since through 2018.
Last year's 30th edition of the tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This edition is now scheduled to be held in 2022.
Within the Organizing Committee, Oosterhof was responsible for the accomodation, as well as contacts with the municipality.
He had a lot of talks with aldermans for sports, including the already mentioned Daaf Geluk and in later years Piet Voskuilen and Ab van Schooten.
These talks, as well as new plans by Gé Hoogenbos, led to building the baseball-stadium in 1963.
Back then, that was the first-ever baseball-stadium in Europe, including stands, a light-installation and a scoreboard.
In later years, the light-towers were renewed, the outfield-fences were moved backwards and a new electronic scoreboard was installed.
After the successful first editions, the Organizing Committee had to made decisions regarding participating teams.
The quality of play of the Netherlands Baseball Team increased and became better and better.
From the second edition on, semi-professional teams Sullivans and California Stags from the USA became regular participants.
In later years, the National Teams from the Netherlands Antilles and European rival Italy were invited, as were stronger American college-teams.
Another highlight came in 1972 when the strong teams of World Champion Cuba and Nicaragua first participated.
Besides inviting strong teams, the Organizing Committee also secured the atmosphere in the stands and around the games amongst the spectators.
Through the years, the Baseball Week is known for its festive mood and thousands of spectactors enjoying the games.
The members of the Organizing Committee always have remained approachable for everyone.
In 1963, Hennie Kooij did administrative work in the so-called permanence during the second Baseball Week and later became the wife of Wim Oosterhof.
Hennie Oosterhof keeps on working in the permance through the early eighties.
Like her husband, Hennie also is very active and is a member of the examination committee of the KNBSB in the late seventies through eighties.
...During the 2010 editon of the Haarlem Baseball Week, four Presidents...|
...pose together: Piet Sikma, Frits Mulder, Piet Tromp and Wim Oosterhof...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
The sons of Wim and Hennie Oosterhof, Willem junior and Onno also played baseball for Kinheim.
Willem junior briefly played for the main-squad in the Dutch big league.
He is still active for the club, as he is the treasurer of the Foundation Friends of Kinheim with Toine Jager as chairman and Kees Tromp as secretary.
Toine's father Peter Jager also has been a longtime chairman of the club.
Tromp was the club's secretary for many years and was the baseball team's dug-out scorer for some twenty years.
Wim Oosterhof is a member of the Organizing Committee during the first seven editions of the Haarlem Baseball Week (1961-1972).
Other members of the Committee in these years include Gerard Voogd (president), Wout Posthuma, Piet van Deenen, Martin Bremer, Karel de Graaf, Jan Hartog, Hans de Bie, Henk de Bruin and Jan Visser.
In 1972, new Committee-members include Dries de Zwaan and Gonny Wedemeijer.
Although he is no Committtee-member anymore after 1972, Wim Oosterhof stays on as a contributor to the tournament, as he remains the liaison officer between the organizors and the authorities for many years, as well as handling official affairs.
In 1962, Oosterhof also was a member of the Organizing Committee when the European Baseball Championship again was hosted at the site of OVVO in Amsterdam.
He also was involved in the organization when the event was held in Haarlem in 1973, 1977, 1981 and 1985.
When the first Haarlem Softball Week was organized in 1980, Wim Oosterhof also was associated.
Although, he was no member of the Organizing Committee, he supported them with his relations within the municipality.
In the early eighties, the Netherlands is awarded the organization rights of the World Baseball Championship to be held in 1986.
In that year, the games of the global event are played in Haarlem (main-site), Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Utrecht.
Amsterdam is the central city where the teams and officials stay and also is the location of the main press center.
In 1984-1987, Wim Oosterhof is the vice-president of the Foundation World Championship Baseball '86.
Other members are Guus van der Heijden (president), Piet Tromp, Theo Vleeshhouwer, Gerard Voogd, Dries de Zwaan and Aad van der Elst.
Because of their experiences, the Organizing Committee is almost the same as the one that organizes the Haarlem Baseball Week.
Tromp is the president and Oosterhof is a member.
After the World Championship, Tromp steps down as president.
Thereafter, Wim Oosterhof returns for one more year in the Orgazining Committee, as he is the president of the 1988 edition of the Haarlem Baseball Week.
The members of the organizational staff in that year include Jaco van Ekeris, Aad van der Elst, Jan van Gennip, Theo Vleeshhouwer, Rob Spies, Peter Laanen and Jacques Reuvers.
In 1989, Oosterhof is succeeded as president by Piet Sikma, who is a former alderman for sports in Haarlem.
Sikma leads the 1990 edition with Reuvers as vice-president, who then takes over for the 1992 Baseball Week.
...Wim has a chat with umpire-commissioners...|
...Cees Bouterse (left) and Piet Sterk during...
...the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Wim Oosterhof developed his administrational and organizational skills at a young age.
As mentioned, he was the secretary of the board of BVC Bloemendaal in 1949 and shortly thereafter, he became a member of the board at HCK (Kinheim).
His skills are noted and in 1958, when he was still only 29 years old, Wim Oosterhof becomes the new secretary of the board of the Royal Netherlandse Baseball Association (KNHB).
At that moment, Arie van Driel Krol, another club-icon of HCK, is the vice-chairman.
Also installed that year is new chairman Wout Posthuma as he successor of Dick Beets.
Through 1960, Oosterhof is the secretary of the KNHB-board which in these years also include Wout Posthuma (chairman), Arie van Driel Krol (vice-chairman), Jan Hartog (second secretary), Ab Hordijk (treasurer), Hans Boersma (second treasurer) and Lou Fisser (member).
In 1960, Ko Scheen succeeds Van Driel Krol and Jan Sibille succeeds Hordijk.
In these years, Oosterhof is a member of the KNHB-commissions.
In 1958-1960, he is the secretary of the Disputes Committee along with Wout Posthuma and Ab Hordijk.
In 1958, he chairs the Game Rules Committee with Henk de Ruiter as secretary and Dick Baas as member.
And in 1958-1959, Oosterhof is the secretary of the Terrain Committee with Hordijk as it chairman.
Early 1961, Martin Bremer succeeds Wim Oosterhof, who then begins a new chapter in his administrational career, as he becomes involved in the Netherlands Amateur Softball Association (NASB), which was founded in 1951.
Back then, Jules Kammeijer was the first chairman.
He introduced softball during World War II as a baseball-variant for women.
Other early board-members of the Softball Association were players Riet Vermaat, Bep van Beijmerwerdt and Hannie Berendonk, as well as Gé Hoff Sr. (chairman) and Teun Gaartman (vice-chairman).
In March 1963, Dries de Zwaan became the new treasurer of the Softball Association.
Like Oosterhof, De Zwaan is very active for HCK and also serves in a lot of positions through the years, also internationally.
Oosterhof and De Zwaan did a lot of work for the development of softball in the Netherlands.
Amongst De Zwaan's many activities was covering softball in the Haarlems Dagblad-newspaper.
A year after De Zwaan had joined the NASB-board, Wim Oosterhof became the chairman, a position he hold through 1970.
Besides Oosterhof and De Zwaan, other board-members in those years include Teun Gaartman, Piet Gabes, Janke Nijdam, Gé Hogenbirk, Line Klein-Desta and Herman Kruijt.
In 1969, Marga de Ruiter becomes the new secretary.
She and Oosterhof, as well as the other members in 1969 and 1970 have talks with the Royal Netherlands Baseball Association (KNHB), which in December 1970 result in a merger.
On January 1, 1971, the new Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) is presented.
...Wim has fun Piet Tromp and Hans de Bie...|
...during a pre-tournament meeting of the 2010...
...Haarlem Baseball Week...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Wim Oosterhof, Marga de Ruiter and Gé Hogenbirk become part of the first KNBSB-board, which is chaired by Lex van der Stek.
Other members are Guus van der Heijden, Martin Bremer, Freek Bos, Dirk Molenaar, John Oosterbroek and Ton Pols.
In 1972, Theo Vleeshhouwer succeeds Bremer and becomes the longtime secretary of the KNBSB.
The following year, Van der Heijden becomes the new chairman, which also is the beginning of a long period.
Early 1974, Oosterhof is succeeded by Cees Boer Sr..
After the merger, Wim Oosterhof (as chairman), Marga de Ruiter and Cor Jonker form a commission in 1971 to stimulate men's softball.
In 1971-1975, the new KNBSB has a special commission for international affairs.
In the first three years, Oosterhof is the secretary of this commission, which is chaired by Guus van der Heijden.
Other members are Jan Hartog (baseball-affairs) and Willem de Ruiter (softball-affairs).
In 1975, Oosterhof handles the softball-affairs in this commission that then also is formed by Van der Heijden, Gerard Voogd, Wil Soolsma and Jules de Pierre.
Wim Oosterhof also serves as a boardmember internationally.
In 1970 and 1971, he is the vice-president of the European Softball Federation (ESF), which is presided by Italian Bruno Beneck.
This Federation was the predecessor of the current ESF, which was (re-)founded in 1976 by representatives of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
Wim Oosterhof is also a longtime boardmember of De Kieviten.
This Alumni-club not only hosts get-togethers for its members who all have made significant contributions to the sports of baseball and softball, but also supports activities that promote both sports.
In 1982-1998, Oosterhof initially is a member of the board, but in 1999 and 2000, he is the vice-chairman.
He then becomes a member again in 2001, before stepping down.
However, some years later, he returns again as vice-chairman.
Other longtime boardmembers of De Kieviten in these years since Oosterhof joined in 1982 include Johan de Bie (chairman), Theo Vleeshhouwer (vice-chairman), Maartje Nierop Groot (secretary), Wim Ascherman (treasurer), Wim Endel (member) and Jan Meijer (member).
From 1990 on, boardmembers included Rob van Tuyl, Wim Broertjes, Tiny van der Poel, Piet van Rijswijk and Dries de Zwaan.
...During the annual meeting of De Kieviten in 2007,...|
...then vice-chairman Wim Oosterhof hands the certificate...
...for Honorary Member to Johan de Bie, who was a...
...boardmember for 35 years (25 as chairman)...
...Sitting in the back is boardmember Dries de Zwaan...
(© Photo courtesy of De Kieviten)
After his retirement from the Haarlem police-corps, Wim Oosterhof remains a busy person.
He is active for the National Police Sports Association and performs various voluntary functions within several local foundations in his beloved Haarlem.
Amongst them is his involvement in the 750th anniversary of Haarlem in 1995.
For two years, he is the project-leader to celebrate this fact.
Oosterhof also is active for Haarlem Promotion, which introduces the slogan 'Haarlem City of Flowers'.
From the end of the nineties, Wim Oosterhof is active for some ten years in the Foundation Mill De Adriaan, which raises funds to rebuild the famous mill at the Spaarne-river within Haarlem.
Dries de Zwaan also is a longtime contributor for this Foundation.
When Oosterhof steps down from his activities for the mill, the Wim Oosterhof Bench is unveiled near the entrance.
Through the years, Kinheim always has been an ambitious club.
In July 1967, Wim Oosterhof, who is then the club's chairman, is interviewed by Hans de Bie for the magazine HonkbalBaseball.
Referring to these ambitions, Oosterhof said:
,,I am convinced that every club should try to achieve the best performance by all appropriate means.
At my club we have a certain atmosphere of our own, as luckily is the case with all other clubs.
We constantly strive to cultivate interest and appreciation for each other among our members, and not just for the sporting qualities.
Based on this, we try to convince the members that they must use their qualities for the club as much as possible, in order to achieve the best possible organizational and sporting result''.
At the time of the interview, Oosterhof also is the chairman of the Netherlands Softball Association.
He loves both baseball and softball, but sees a future growth for softball.
,,I am convinced that both sports will have to go hand in hand in spreading this genre of sports.
In America, the number of softball players is greater than the number of baseball players, but baseball gets the most attention.
Organized softball in our country is increasing quite slowly, but I believe that in the more recreational and educational sphere softball is and will be more practiced than baseball''.
A dream comes true and the club's ambitions are realized in 1978 when Kinheim captures the Dutch Championship-title for the first time in club-history.
Amongst the players that season are Hans Augustinus, Nol Beenders, Frank Breek, Hans van Driel Krol, Fokke Jelsma, Frank van der Putten and Ron Vader.
Head Coach of the team that year is Karel Crouwel.
This was the first of five Championships, as the team captured the title again in 1994, 2006, 2007 and 2012.
Wim Oosterhof is honored several time for all his activities.
When he retired as member of the board in 1974, Wim Oosterhof was named Honorary Member of the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB).
...After being inducted into the Netherlands Baseball & Softball...|
...Hall of Fame during the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week,...
...Wim Oosterhof and Jules de Pierre (right) pose with...
...fellow-Hall of Famers Herman Beidschat, Ludy van Mourik,...
...Hamilton Richardson and Theo Vleeshhouwer...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
In 1996, he was awarded the Honorary Medal of the City of Haarlem for his organization of the Haarlem 750-festivities.
The Honorary Medal is awarded to persons based on their organizational skills, but in later years also to personalities from art, culture and sports.
Amongts the honorees are Haarlem-mayors Oscar Cremers (1969), Jan Reehorst (1984), Elizabeth Schmitz (1994), Jaap Pop (2006) and Bernt Schneiders (2016), as well as aldermans Daaf Geluk (1970), Piet Voskuilen (1978), Ab van Schooten (1990) and Piet Sikma (1990) and painter Kees Verwey (1985), Olympic speedskating champion Yvonne van Gennip (1988), movie maker/cartoonist Gerrit van Dijk (1998), writer Louis Ferron (2002) and singer/songwriter Boudewijn de Groot (2011).
Wim Oosterhof also received a Royal Decoration, as he was an Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau.
He also was awarded the Silver Medal of the Province of North Holland.
For his many activities for Kinheim, Wim Oosterhof was named Honorary Chairman and Honorary Member.
He also was named Honorary Member of De Kieviten.
Aonther highlight came on July 27, 2008 when he was officially inducted into the Netherlands Baseball and Softball Hall of Fame, together with Jules de Pierre.
Their inductions took place during that years edition of the Haarlem Baseball Week.
In 2018, Kinheim organized a pre-season baseball-tournament.
A year later, the club decided to name the tournament after Wim Oosterhof.
Last year, as well as this year, the tournament unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the measures against the coronavirus.
Everyone who have met Wim and Hennie Oosterhof can confirm that both have always been very friendly and hospitable.
The two are much-liked, not only within the Kinheim-family, but also by others.
On a personal note, the author of this story has had the pleasure of knowing both for 45 years.
Hennie was the secretary of the examination committee when I did my examinations for Official Scorer in 1977.
After knowing Wim already from my visits to Kinheim, I first worked together with Wim him the 1988 Haarlem Baseball Week when he was the President of the Organizing Committee and I was an editor of the daily magazine of the tournament for the first time.
When we met through the years, we always had a nice chat and that friendship remained.
Unfortunately, Wim suffered some health problems in recent years.
Therefore, he ended up in a wheelchair.
But he was always lovingly cared by Hennie and the two atttended games of Kinheim as much as possible.
And they both always had a smile on their face and always remained positive.
Wim Oosterhof was a special person.
A man with a long and impressive career in baseball and softball.
Someone who much loved and enjoyed all the things he did, but who always remained modest about what he had done for the sports, for Kinheim and for the city of Haarlem.
A man, who will be missed by many.
The webmaster of Grand Slam * Stats & News offers his condolences to Wim's wife Hennie, their sons Willem Jr. and Onno, grandchildren and other family and friends and wishes them a lot of strength with this big loss.