by Pim van Nes
After Win Remmerswaal in 1979 with Boston Red Sox, Rikkert Faneyte in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants, Robert Eenhoorn in 1994 with the New York Yankees, Ralph Milliard in 1996 with the Cincinnati Reds and Rick van den Hurk in 2007 with the Florida Marlins, yesterday 24-year-old outfielder Roger Bernadina with the Washington Nationals became the sixth player from the Netherlands Hoofdklasse to reach Major League Baseball.
Last Saturday he was called up from Double A Harrisburg Senators to Washington in order to replace injured center fielder Lastings Milledge, who is on the 15-day disabled list. Bernadina took the opportunity to celebrate his selection for the Major League team with a single on the game’s second pitch by Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie. Manager Manny Acta had appointed Bernadina as leadoff and this choice was justified with a first inning hit and a run (video), good for a six innings lead for the Nationals. The game was won by the Nationals 3-2 thanks to a two-run homerun by Ronnie Belliard in the bottom of the twelfth inning.
Antillean born Bernadina got baseball education in the diplomatic city The Hague with local club ADO, then played Dutch major league baseball named Hoofdklasse with Sparta/Feyenoord in port city Rotterdam, where he signed a pro contract in 2004. Yesterday he played his first American Major League game in the diplomatic city Washington versus the Orioles from the port city Baltimore. After his opening hit and run, Bernadina reached base another two times, but home plate was too far for his team until the game winning homerun in the twelfth inning. Center fielder Bernadina participated in the home team defense with seven flies in his fresh Major League glove.
In Europe Bernadina became known as an excellent player of the Netherlands national team by assisting with .632 average and two homeruns in conquering the continental title 2007 in Barcelona. Also with Bernadina the national team finished fourth in the World Cup tournament in Taiwan, after having beaten reputed opponents like Venezuela, Korea, Cuba and home team Taiwan.
This week the Netherlands will face Cuba, USA, Japan, Taiwan and the Netherlands Antilles in the 10-day Haarlem Honkbal Week, the longest week in baseball from July 4th thru 13. The city of Haarlem is hosting this biannual tournament for the 24th time. In August the Netherlands will play the opening baseball game versus Taiwan in the Olympic Games of Beijing, China.
As like outfielder Bernadina, also his predecessors played for various clubs in the Netherlands. Pitcher Remmerswaal played in his native city Wassenaar and Hoofdklasse games with Storks in The Hague. Outfielder Faneyte originated from the Pirates in Amsterdam and right now he is a successful manager of the first team under the name of L&D Amsterdam ranking third in the Hoofdklasse.
Infielder Eenhoorn was more or less born in Neptunus, learned as a bat boy, was coached as a junior player there and played Hoofdklasse games with Neptunus in Rotterdam and with Nicols in Haarlem. Now he is manager of the Netherlands national team and by 2009 he will be responsible as technical director baseball of Dutch federation KNBSB.
Infielder Milliard returned faithfully to Bussum and is still playing Hoofdklasse games for Mr. Cocker HCAW and Rick van den Hurk as a junior played for PSV Eindhoven and the Twins, was contracted by the Florida Marlins, where he was made a Major League pitcher and debuted as such in 2007. This year he got a second medical treatment to recover from physical unease and this month he is picking up Double A rhythm in Carolina.
Pim van Nes
Baseball writer for