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Updated: November 3, 2010
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

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Dutch Federation icon Rinus Paardekooper passed away


...Rinus Paardekooper...
(1948 - 2010)

IJSSELSTEIN (Neth.) - Rinus Paardekooper, who served the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation (KNBSB) for more than 45 years and became the face of the Head Office, has passed away on Sunday, October 31 at the age of 62 after an illness of three months.

According to the wishes of Rinus, the farewell-ceremony had a private character. He also had made it clear that the announcement of his passing would be made public after the ceremony had taken place and that was held on Wednesday-morning, November 3. Of course, his last wishes were respected.

The many activities of Marinus Eduard Paardekooper, who played baseball for Terrasvogels in Santpoort, started somewhere in the sixties when he became a baseball and softball umpire in the then existing Noord-Holland Region. In the seventies, he was promoted and was assigned to officiate baseball games in the national competitions.

...Rinus in 1992 at the Head Office... Santpoort; at left is Gijs Selderijk...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Rinus always was known to arrange and organize things, so when he ended his umpiring career halfway the seventies, he became the league manager for baseball and softball for the Noord-Holland leagues. He later also led the leagues of District West, then was the league manager of the national softball-leagues in 1978. Besides that, he was a member of the Board for Noord-Holland (1975-1978).

Also in the seventies, Rinus started to do administrative support on a voluntary base at the Head Office of the KNBSB, which was then located in Amsterdam. As he was closely associated with managing several leagues, he became a member of the Game Committee of the KNBSB in 1976, a position he held until 2008. Initially, he was responsible for the baseball leagues, then did softball for four years, returned to baseball and covered both sports since 1994. When the Head Office moved to Santpoort-Noord in 1979, Rinus moved along. He did the same when the Office moved to Nieuwegein in 2000, where it moved a few years later to its current location on the other side of the street. Rinus even moved to the city of IJsselstein, which is closeby Nieuwegein.

Being a former umpire himself, he also became a member of the national Umpiring Committee in 1979. From then, Rinus did the assignments for umpires and official scorers for all national baseball and softball games through 1986. He then only did the baseball-assignments for six years, but since 1994, he combined both sports again.

It was in these positions in the Game Commission and the Umpire Commission, which he held for more than 30 years, that Rinus became very wellknown. For a lot in those years, he simply was the 'voice' of the Head Office, as he had frequent contacts with club and game officials by phone.

...Rinus thanks those attending the reception for...
...his 25th anniversary at the Head Office in 2005...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Through the years, Rinus was a member of several commissions. Since 1978, he was a member of the Protest Commission of both baseball and softball, doing all the paperwork through 2008. Rinus developed an enormous knowledge of rules, both for the games as well as legal rules and therefore, in 1993, he became a member of the Rules Commission.

Rinus was great in organizing and so he frequently was able to arrange several things for the Head Office, such as furniture. And so, in the eighties, he became a member of the Organizing Committee for International Softball, which was responsible for the Haarlem Softball Week and European Championships, which were held in the Netherlands.

In 2005, Rinus was decorated by the KNBSB to honor his 25th anniversary as an employee of the Dutch Federation. As mentioned, he started working at the Office in the seventies, but he officially became an employee in 1980.

...Rinus is congratulated with his...
...jubilee by former KNBSB-Secretary...
...Theo Vleeshhouwer...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Throughout the years, Rinus not only became known for his rich knowledge and acquaintances, but also became the 'face of the Head Office'. He had a close relationship with several umpires and scorers, but also could take distance when needed. Rinus, who also had a great sense of dry humor, never wanted to be on the front seat, despite playing an important role in Dutch baseball and softball and then especially at the Head Office. A characteristical saying from him was ''I simply do my work''.

During 2008, he stopped with assigning the game officials, but remained active for the Head Office, as he became the program-manager for club support in January 2009. In that capacity, he talked and visited with several clubs, but also made a contribution for the introduction of BeeBall. Besides that, he remained a member of the Rules Commission and also was a member of the Commission for Handicapped Sports.

...Rinus wearing a...
...Trail Blazer shirt...
(© Ph: Marco Stoovelaar)
In the eighties and nineties, Rinus also was a member of the board of Trail Blazers, the baseball promotion-team that made several trips to mostly East European countries, like Poland, then Czechoslovakia, Russia and Bulgaria. The Trail Blazers baseball-team, which was compiled from Dutch and foreign players from several leagues who all payed their own trip, not only played games, but also conducted clinics and donated equipment for further development of baseball in those countries. During international events in the Netherlands, the Trail Blazers had equipment stands, with the profit being used again for donating equipment. In most cases, Rinus was in the Trail Blazers stand himself.

The last few years, Rinus also was assigned as Technical Commissioner for several international baseball events. That not only included the Haarlem Baseball Week and World Port Tournament in the Netherlands, but also events like the European Junior Championship Qualification Tournament in Poland (2008), European Championship Juveniles in Bulgaria (2009) and Qualifier European Championship Cadets this summer in Nykoping (Sweden), July 19-24. Rinus went to this last event a few days after having attended a meeting for game officials during this years Haarlem Baseball Week. When Rinus returned from Sweden, he reported feeling sick and ended up in a hospital.

In August, a statement was released in Home Plate, the news magazine of the KNBSB, regarding the health conditions of Rinus. In this, it was announced that at the end of July, it had been diagnosed that Rinus was critical and terminally ill and that several bodyfuntions had been affected by the disease. As requested by Rinus, this news was not made public at that moment, as he initially didn't want any attention. The request of course was honored, so it took until August 5 that the news was announced to his colleagues and at his request also to some others. Rinus then spent a week in the hospital, before returning home. On August 18, the news was made public with the announcement in Home Plate.

The astonishing news was a big blow for his colleagues and the board of the KNBSB. His passing results in the same reaction. For everyone in the Dutch baseball and softball-world. Rinus, who was nicknamed 'Mister KNBSB', will be surely missed by everyone who knew and worked with him through the years. He will leave a big emptyness. With the passing of Rinus Paardekooper, the KNBSB has lost one of its icons.

Of course, we wish his family a lot of strength with this big loss.

The KNBSB has opened a condolences-register for Rinus. This is reachable through

(November 3)

...Rinus assists then-KNBSB Chairman Ruud van Zetten during the...
...honoring of veteran umpire Fred van Groningen Schinkel, who officiated...
...his 1000th game in the Dutch big league on June 9, 2006...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)

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