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Updated: November 3, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

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Umpires Arie Nokkert and Jos Welboren retire

ALMERE (Neth.) - Veteran softball-umpires Arie Nokkert and Jos Welboren both now officially have retired from officiating games. Nokkert announced during the regular season that he would not be available anymore on a weekly basis in the new season, while Welboren already had stopped before the season went underway. On Saturday (November 3), their retirement was announced officially during the annual season-ending meeting of game-officials, which was held in Almere. During the meeting, it was also announced that veteran baseball-umpires Henny Jansen and Olav Steijger have retired. Also during the meeting, two awards and two decorations were handed out.

Arie Nokkert officiated his last game on Sunday, October 14. On that day, Nokkert was the 1B Umpire in the second game of the best-of-three Promotion/Relegation Series between DSS and Amsterdam Pirates. The game was a thriller, which was won 7-5 in eight innings by DSS. With that, the Haarlem-team maintained its stay in the highest league, while Amsterdam Pirates will play in the Silver League again in 2019.

...Arie Nokkert and Jos Welboren in 2011 during the...
...Future Stars Indoor Tournament in Amsterdam...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
After a long career playing softball for VIPS in Maartensdijk, Nokkert became an umpire in 1990 in the so-called Rayon Midden-Nederland. He also officiated through 2000 in the then-existing District Oost when the Rayons were replaced by four Districts. In 1992, Nokkert promoted to the national level and made his debut in the Dutch big league in the late nineties. Since then, he was assigned to games in the highest division for both softball women and softball men. In his career, Nokkert officiated in some thousand games in the two leagues combined. However, Nokkert will not completely retire, as he will be available as a fill-in umpire when needed.

In 2001, Nokkert made his international debut and was assigned to tournament annually through 2015 when he retired as an international umpire. In those years, Nokkert participated in several European Cup-tournaments in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. He also was an umpire during the European Cadets Championship in 2011 and the European Junior Championship in 2014. Nokkert also officiated games during two Maccabiah Games in Israel, as well as during the annual Zeister Slot Tournament and the former Bill Jeffrey Tournament.

With more than 20 seasons in the Dutch big league, Nokkert was one of the veteran and most experienced umpires. In recent years, the highest division also saw several other experienced umpires retire. Carolien Stadhouders retired after the 2016 season, then Albert Tolen stopped after the Season Finals of the 2017 season. Before the start of this season, Rob Veldkamp announced his retirement. Due to health problems, Peter Vonk had been unable to return to the field after last season.

The most experienced umpires at the highest level are now Bob Gieskens, Mariana Prins-Atanasova, Patrick Reus, Louis Rohan and Arjan de Wever, who all officiated in the big league for more than ten seasons.

Jos Welboren led games for more than forty years on different levels. He made his debut in the seventies in the Rayon Haarlem. From 1992 on, he led games in the District West and the Region North. Since 2002, Welboren mostly led games in several regional divisions, but through the years, he also was assigned for games on the national level. Some years ago, Welboren was one of the umpires during the international Right To Play Future Stars Indoor Tournament in Amsterdam.

(November 3)

Related Articles:
Linda Steijger, Daniël Bouman win Awards; Decorations Nokkert, Welboren. (November 3)
Umpires Henny Jansen and Olav Steijger retire. (November 3)

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