- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 190 lb.
Rob Cordemans has been a fixture on Dutch teams in international competitions for two decades and has won nine Hoofdklasse Pitcher of the Year honors (second-most ever through 2015).
He pitched for the Netherlands in the 1995 European Championship and had a 6.14 ERA in four games for the champions. He allowed one run in three innings in the 1995 World Port Tournament. He was with the Dutch team in the 1996 Olympics as a 21-year-old and had both of the club's wins, losing none despite a 6.94 ERA. He also struggled in the 1997 World Port Tournament, surrendering 14 hits and 10 runs in 6 1/3 IP, somehow escaping without a loss.
Pitching in the US in '98, Robbie had a 1.47 ERA for Indian River Community College, the 4th-lowest mark for a junior college pitcher in the US. He was with the Dutch team in the 1998 Baseball World Cup, going 1-1 with one save and a 5.28 ERA; he was plagued by 11 walks in 15 1/3 IP.
In 1999, Cordemans was 14-2 with a 2.20 ERA for the Honkbal Club Kinheim, leading Hoofdklasse in ERA (by 1.36) and wins. He won his first Pitcher of the Year Award. In the 1999 European Championship, he shut out the Russian national team in the semifinals. In the 1999 World Port Tournament, his 8.10 ERA was the worst on the winning Netherlands team. He was 0-2 with a 3.52 ERA in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup. The next season, the young right-hander went 8-4 with 94 strikeouts (4th-best) but was not among the win leaders. He helped his new Neptunus team to the European Cup title by fanning 11 Italian players in a complete game win. He was 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA in the 2000 Olympics, taking a loss against the USA but getting solid reviews for his performance. He allowed 4 runs in 6 1/3 IP in the US game (striking out five). Against Italy, he allowed two unearned runs in 8 innings. In the 2001 Baseball World Cup, Rob was 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA. He shut out Australia for 6 2/3 IP and lost a key quarterfinal match against Taiwan, 2-0, due to no offensive support. In the 2001 World Port Tournament, Cordemans was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. In the 2001 European Championship, Cordemans was 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA, allowing 9 hits and striking out 16 in 15 innings of work. He teamed with Patrick De Lange on a 2-hit shutout of Russia in the Gold Medal game.
He was 10-2, 0.47 in 2002 and the top pitcher in the Netherlands. It was a Neptunus club record for ERA. He allowed 6 runs in 6 1/3 IP in the 2002 Intercontinental Cup. In '03, Robbie was 12-1, 0.93 and won pitcher of the year honors. He led Hoofdklasse in ERA, wins and strikeouts (106 in 106 innings) to win the pitching Triple Crown for the champion Neptunus club. In the 2003 European Championship, he struck out 15 in 12 innings and allowed no runs. He was 1-0, getting the win in the Gold Medal game against the Greek national team. In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, Cordemans was 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA; the rest of the Dutch staff went 1-3. Cordemans allowed one run and 6 hits in the 2003 World Port Tournament, going 2-0.
Cordemans was the Holland Series MVP in 2004 after winning games one and four. He played in the Olympics for the third time, appearing for the Netherlands in the 2004 Summer Games. In '05, the 30-year-old veteran had another huge year (13-1, 0.77), winning yet another ERA title and tying for the lead in wins in being named Pitcher of the Year once again. His 2.12 ERA during his time with Neptunus was the lowest in club history for a career. Cordemans had a 0.00 ERA in the 2005 European Championship, tied for second with two wins and was 5th with 12 strikeouts for the Gold Medal winners. During the 2005 Baseball World Cup, Rob went 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 17 K in 13 2/3 IP.
Pitching for the Netherlands in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, he fanned four but allowed four hits and two runs (one earned) in 2 2/3 IP. He joined ADO for the '06 campaign and went 9-3 with a 1.72 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 131 IP. He finished fourth in the league in ERA and led in strikeouts and innings in a drop-off from his recent performances.
In the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, Cordemans had no decisions and a 2.08 ERA in three starts. He tied for fourth in the tournament with 15 strikeouts.
Cordemans' play earned him a 6-week trial in the Chinese Professional Baseball League for 2007. Ivanon Coffie beat him out in being the first Dutch national to play in the CPBL. Cordemans went 3-4 with a 4.50 ERA for the Uni-President Lions before being released in late May and returning to Holland. The Lions signed Wayne Franklin to take his spot. Cordemans struggled after returning to the Netherlands, going 1-3 with a save and a 3.88 ERA for ADO. He did strike out 56 in 48 2/3 IP.
Cordemans threw 7 shutout innings, striking out 10, to win one game in the 2007 European Championship and help the Netherlands qualify for the 2008 Olympics. He was 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in the 2007 World Port Tournament, allowing 15 hits and striking out none in 8 1/3 innings. In the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Robbie was 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA. He pitched five scoreless innings against Team Canada before allowing a Mike Saunders homer and a walk and leaving the game; he would take the defeat. He turned in a decent start against the host Taiwan national team in the quarterfinals as the Dutch won in extra innings on their way to fourth place.
Cordemans had another big season in 2008. He went 9-0 with a 0.86 ERA, allowing only 53 hits (1 homer) and 16 walks in 94 1/3 innings while striking out 112. He led Hoofdklasse in ERA by .56 over David Bergman. He allowed the lowest average (.162, .037 better than Mihai Burlea), led in lowest opponent OBP (.205, .71 ahead of Bergman), tied Diegomar Markwell for 4th in wins, was second in innings (behind Alex Smith), led in strikeouts (26 ahead of Leon Boyd) and tied for the lead in shutouts (1). That earned him his fifth Pitcher of the Year award, beating out finalists Boyd and Patrick Beljaards. He tied Han Urbanus for the second-most Pitcher of the Year awards in Hoofdklasse history, trailing only Herman Beidschat's 10. No one since 1970 had won more than four awards.
Cordemans was the pitching star of a pitching-dominated Dutch national team that twice beat the Dominican Republic and made it to the quarterfinals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He allowed two hits in 6 2/3 innings, allowing no runs; he did walk four while striking out three. In his first outing, he relieved Alexander Smit with a 3-2 lead over the Dominicans, one out and the bases loaded with former MVP Miguel Tejada at the plate. He promptly induced a double play grounder by Tejada to Yurendell de Caster. He allowed a Willy Aybar double in the 6th and a single to Hanley Ramirez and a walk to David Ortiz in the 7th but gave up no runs as the Orange remained in control en route to victory. In his second game, he relieved Smit with a 0-0 tie in the 6th against the Dominicans and tossed two shutout innings despite walks to Tejada and Willy Taveras. In those innings, he retired Jose Guillen, Robinson Cano, Miguel Olivo, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz. Dennis Neuman relieved Cordemans as the Dutch went on to win in extra innings. He tossed shutout ball in the 6th and 7th innings against Venezuela in a 3-1 loss to open the second round.
In the 2009 World Port Tournament, Cordemans went 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. He allowed one hit and no runs in 7 innings against Japan. He tied Miguel A. González, Yaumier Sánchez, Maikel Folch and Syogo Suenaga for the tourney lead in victories.
Cordemans opened 2009 with 33 2/3 consecutive innings for Sparta/Feyenoord without an earned run before finally giving up one. For the year, he was 6-2 with a 0.91 ERA. He finished second to Ryan Murphy in ERA (just .02 off the pace) and did not allow a home run in 98 2/3 innings. He was 7th in opponent average (.215, between David Bergman and Kevin Heijstek), was 6th in WHIP, tied Gregory Gustina and Patrick Beljaards for 8th in wins, was 4th in innings and ranked second in strikeouts (103, one behind Murphy). He lost Pitcher of the Year to Murphy.
In the 2009 Baseball World Cup, Rob shut out a strong Puerto Rican national team for five innings to get the win; Bergman relieved him in the 6th. He struggled against Nicaragua, giving up a 3-run homer to Justo Rivas and leaving with a deficit, but the Netherlands rallied to win after he left the game. In the semifinals, he was ahead of Team Canada, 5-2, after five, but allowed a 2-run double to Adam Loewen. Arshwin Asjes replaced him and the Dutch wound up losing. He finished the event 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA, 18 strikeouts and only two walks in 16 2/3 innings.
Cordemans was with the Amsterdam Pirates in 2010 and had a 7-2, 0.81 record while allowing a .168 average. The veteran was again second in ERA (trailing Leon Boyd), was third in opponent average (trailing Boyd and Dushan Ruzic), 5th in strikeouts (76) and tied Eddie Aucoin for 7th in wins. He lost Pitcher of the Year to Boyd. In the 2010 Holland Series, he put together a strong outing in game two against his old Neptunus club, fanning nine and allowing one run in six innings before Ben Grover blew it in relief. In game four, the right-hander tossed eight shutout innings to outduel Markwell; he finally allowed one in the 9th and was yanked with an out to go but got credit for the win. With Amsterdam down 3 games to 2, he struggled in game 6, giving up four runs in five innings in a loss to Markwell.
Also that year, Rob was the starting pitcher for the North in the first Hoofdklasse All-Star Game. In the 2010 Haarlem Baseball Week, he allowed four runs in ten innings and had a combined shutout against Japan. During the 2010 European Championship, he teamed with Dave Draijer on a no-hitter against the French national team (6 IP, 1 H, 8 K) and joined with Michiel van Kampen in a shutout versus Greece (6 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 6 K). Despite his dominance in the event, the Netherlands had to settle for a Silver Medal when Markwell, Boyd and Asjes failed to contain Italy in the finale.
In the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, Cordemans battled Japan's Shota Oba in a pitching duel. With a 1-0 lead in the 6th, he ran into trouble on a bunt hit by Itaru Hashimoto and an error by Raily Legito. He retired Taishi Ota, then Markwell replaced him and escaped the jam. Cordemans had allowed only two hits and three walks on the day. The Netherlands would lose, 2-1, when Red Sox farmhand Dennis Neuman gave up two runs in the 9th. In the Gold Medal game, he got the call against Cuba but lost to Miguel A. González. In the third, he gave up a double to José Dariel Abreu, a single to Ariel Pestano and a 2-run double to Yorbis Borroto to fall behind 2-0. Nick Stuifbergen relieved him with two outs in the fourth and the Netherlands would lose, 4-1.
On June 11, 2011, Cordemans fanned 14 in 8 innings in a shutout win over ADO to move past Beidschat for second all-time in the Hoofdklasse with 140 wins, 10 behind Bart Volkerijk. His last strikeout of the day was his 1,500th, getting Irving Redan to become the fourth Hoofdklasse hurler to that figure, following Volkerijk, Peter Callenbach and Craig McGinnis. He started the 2011 Hoofdklasse All-Star Game. For the year, he was 9-1 with a miniscule 0.31 ERA and .135 opponent average, striking out 127 in 88 innings. He easily led in ERA (.78 below runner-up Craig Anderson, a former AAA and Olympic hurler), opponent average (.059 below Anderson) and strikeouts (26 ahead of Bergman). He was 5th in innings pitched and third in wins (two behind Aucoin and one behind Markwell). He walked only ten and gave up three earned runs for the whole year (fewer than many pitchers allow in a game). He did not surrender a homer and held lefties to one hit in 24 at-bats. For that, he easily won his 6th Pitcher of the Year award, beating out fellow finalists Aucoin and Bergman. He broke his tie with Han Urbanus for Pitcher of the Year awards, moving into sole possession of second place behind Beidschat. He started only one game in the 2011 Holland Series, which Amsterdam won. He beat the Vaessen Pioniers in game 3, allowing 5 hits and 2 runs while fanning nine in eight innings. After not allowing a homer in the regular season, he served up a 2-run shot to Mark-Jan Moorman that day. Amsterdam won it all.
In the 2011 European Cup, he beat the Heidenheim Heidekoepfe with one run allowed in seven innings to outduel former major leaguer Dusty Bergman. In the final round, he had another duel, this time with Henry Bonilla of T&A San Marino. Cordemans retired his first 14 batters and tossed nine shutout innings but Amsterdam failed to score. He was relieved in the 10th and Al Morales Gomes promptly blew it.
Cordemans had one of his brightest moments in the 2011 Baseball World Cup. He was 3-0 with a 2.29 ERA, tying Cuba's Miguel Lahera for the tournament's best record. In his first game, he held Japan to one run in six innings in a win. The next time out, he faced host Panama, which came in 5-0. Cordemans allowed 3 runs in the first 3 innings but then tossed shutout ball for three. Entering the 7th with a 6-3 lead, he got one out. Damaso Espino singled just out of Cordemans' reach, then Javier Castillo singled off Rob's leg. Having thrown 119 pitches, he was yanked in favor of Berry van Driel, who quenched the rally as the Netherlands held on to a win. In the Gold Medal game, manager Brian Farley called on Cordemans to face Cuba. Unlike the 2010 Intercontinental Cup's finale, he beat Cuba this time. He outdueled Yulieski González in a 2-1 contest, giving up just two hits and one run in 7 1/3 IP. After three hitless, walkless innings and five Ks, he allowed his only run in the 4th when Frederich Cepeda doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on an Alfredo Despaigne sacrifice fly. He tossed shutout ball in the 5th and 6th. In the 7th, Despaigne reached on a two-base error by former Cubs farmhand Dwayne Kemp, but Cordemans got three straight former Cuban MVPs in Yulieski Gourriel, José Dariel Abreu and Michel Enríquez. He allowed his second hit with one out in the 8th when pinch-hitter Rudy Reyes doubled. Juan Carlos Sulbaran relieved and escaped the jam, then Bergman got the save to lock up the historic Dutch win. Cordemans failed to make the tournament All-Star team (Hyoun-taek Oh was picked as the starting pitcher) nor did he make the Baseball World Cup MVP (which went to the Netherlands first baseman, Curt Smith).
At the end of the 2011 season, it was reported that Cordemans had signed with his old ADO club. On October 31, though, he annulled his transfer and decided to stay with Amsterdam. Cordemans tied Volkerijk's all-time Hoofdklasse win record of 150 on June 14, 2012, with a 10-2 win over the Vaessen Pioniers. He allowed no runs in 6 2/3 IP and struck out 9 before Nick Stuifbergen relieved. In his first attempt to take sole possession of the record, he tossed a 12-K, 4-hit gem but allowed one unearned run in a 1-0 loss to his old Neptunus club. In his second try, he struck out 7 and gave up 2 unearned runs in a 6-2 win over Sparta/Feyenoord to surpass Volkerijk and become the first Hoofdklasse hurler with over 150 wins. He finished the season 10-1 with a 0.22 ERA. He led in ERA (.42 ahead of Derek Tarapacki), was third in opponent average (.187, behind Ben Grover and Tarapacki), was 4th in strikeouts (94), tied Markwell for 9th in innings (80 2/3) and tied Luke Sommer for second in wins (one behind Markwell) while giving up only two earned runs for the year. He won his 7th Pitcher of the Year, beating out Bergman and Markwell, and also took his first MVP. For MVP, he beat out fellow finalists Mike Duursma, Ramiro Balentina and Rafaël Jozefa.
Cordemans also appeared on the international stage several times in 2012. In the 2012 Haarlem Baseball Week, he was not that good at 0-2, 3.86, losing to Puerto Rico and the US. In the 2012 European Cup, he struck out 21 and allowed 3 earned runs in 20 1/3 IP; he got a no-decision against Fortitudo Bologna, beat Draci Brno and took another no-decision in the Final Four against Nettuno (leaving with a 0-0 tie against Juan Figueroa after 8; Amsterdam lost in 9). He was superb in the 2012 European Championship, shutting out France with a 8-K, 4-hit 5-inning mercy rule gem. In a crucial game against Spain, he tossed another shutout, striking out 9 and allowing just two hits and a walk in 7 innings before giving way to Tom Stuifbergen.
With Jair Jurrjens and Rick Vanden Hurk opting out, Cordemans was the #2 Dutch starter in the 2013 World Baseball Classic with two starts, one behind Markwell. The team made it to the final four in the event for the first time. He did very well in his first start against Australia, allowing two hits, no walks and no runs in five innings before Bergman relieved, outdueling Ruzic. He got the win. He was much worse against defending champion Japan, giving up 5 hits (6 runs) in 1 1/3 IP in a loss against Kenta Maeda before Tom Stuifbergen relieved; he had served up homers to Takashi Toritani, Nobuhiro Matsuda and Seiichi Uchikawa by that point to finish the event at 1-1, 8.53 between his excellent start and his poor one.
He had his usual excellent pitching with no support in the European Cup, allowing 3 hits and one run in 7 innings against Bologna in the 2013 European Cup but getting a no decision as Raul Rivero was just as sharp. Kevin Heijstek relieved and Jurrian Koks lost it in extra innings. He was 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in the 2013 World Port Tournament, shutting out Curacao but losing a 2-0 duel to Cuba's Yadier Pedroso and Ismel Jimenez. He starred as usual in the 2013 Hoofdklasse, going 10-1 with a 1.11 ERA and finishing among the league leaders in ERA (2nd, .08 behind Heijstek), opponent average (.196, 3rd, behind Markwell and Josh Rickards), innings (81 1/3, 7th, between Nick Veltkamp and Orlando Yntema), strikeouts (88, 4th, behind Bergman, Rickards and Markwell) and wins (1st). He won his third straight Pitcher of the Year and 8th overall. He beat out fellow finalists Bergman and Markwell. Only four prior hurlers had won three consecutive Pitcher of the Year awards: Han Urbanus (1953-1955), Beidschat (1959-1965), Rudi Dom (1966-1968) and McGinnis (1984-1986). Also that season, he became the Pirates' pitching coach.
In the 2014 Haarlem Baseball Week, he allowed only six hits and one run in fifteen innings but had two no-decisions as the Netherlands was shut out by the USA and Kevin Kelly blew it in the 9th and Japan's Seigi Tanaka matched him with one run, with Bergman losing it in extra innings. He had the lowest ERA of any pitcher who gave up a run in the event. During the 2014 Hoofdklasse, he was stellar as usual: 8-0, 1.53, 44 H, 9 BB in 64 2/3 IP). He was third in ERA (after Yntema and Heijstek), tied Jurjen van Zijl for 7th in strikeouts (60) despite not making the top 10 in innings and tying Veltkamp, Yntema and Markwell for third in wins. After three straight Pitcher of the Year honors, he was not even a finalist (Heijstek beating out Yntema and Asjes).
He missed some time late in 2014 after suffering second-degree burns lighting his fireplace at home. He was kept out of action until the finale of the 2014 European Championship, when he was called on to face the two-time defending champions from Italy. He did his share, fanning six in four shutout innings, allowing only two hits and one walk, before Bergman relieved. Tom Stuifbergen wound up with credit for the 6-3 win, though Cordemans left with a lead that would not be relinquished. In the 2014 Holland Series, he won game 2 (a 17-7 blowout) with six hits, an unearned run and five whiffs in four frames against Neptunus and had a no-decision in a game 4 Amsterdam loss (4 R in 6 1/3 IP). In game 7, he lost a 1-0 duel to van Driel. He had won the only prior 1-0 finale in Holland Series annals, 19 years prior, back in 1995, when he was 20 years old. It was his fifth Holland Series complete game, a record (he had the record of 4 going into 2014 but Markwell pitched his 4th earlier in the Series).
Pitching for the All-Europe team against Samurai Japan in the Global Baseball Match in March 2015, he got the call in game 2 of the two-game series. He blanked Japan for two frames, allowing a Nobuhiro Matsuda double and two walks while fanning Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, then turning the ball over to Italian Alessandro Maestri. He left with a 1-0 lead but Europe lost, 4-3. He was 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in the 2015 World Port Tournament, losing the championship game to Cuba after the Netherlands swept the games prior to that. He threw a six-hit shutout (2 BB, 5 K) against T&A San Marino in the 2015 European Cup; in the finale, Amsterdam went to Heijstek, who took a 2-1 defeat.
In the 2015 Hoofdklasse campaign, the old-timer was 6-2 with a 0.84 ERA, fanning 79 and walking only 12 in 75 innings. The ERA was a little deceptive as half his runs allowed (7 of 14) were unearned, a higher rate than any of the top 10 in ERA. He was 9th in wins and innings (between Yntema and Sander Helmendach) but 6th in opponent average (.210, between Jim Ploeger and Markwell), second in whiffs (17 shy of Ricardo Hernández) and led in both walk rate and ERA (.42 ahead of runner-up Kenny Vandenbranden). He won his 9th Pitcher of the Year, moving him one shy of Beidschat's record, beating out a record crop with four finalists (the others were Vandenbranden, Heijstek and Pim Walsma).
Cordemans was back with the Netherlands (now officially the Kingdom of the Netherlands team) for the 2015 Premier 12. He got one start, holding rival Italy to one run on three hits in five innings, when Mario Chiarini singled in Juan Carlos Infante, and got the win. He was the oldest player in the event; an Italian pitcher (Ludovico Coveri) in the same game he played had not even been born when Cordemans first was in the Olympics. For the tournament, he was second among the Netherlands starters in ERA, behind only Tom Stuifbergen and ahead of former major leaguers Jurrjens and Shairon Martis and former AA hurler and longtime Hoofdklasse rival Markwell.
Sources include various Baseball Almanacs, Marco Stoovelaar's page on Dutch baseball, Worldbaseballclassic.com, 2005 Baseball World Cup, Review of Cordemans' game against the USA in the 2000 Olympics, Neptunus website, IBAF site, Mister Baseball, Harry Wedemeijer's international competitions statistics site, Olympics, Various European tournament statistics since 2007, Haarlem Baseball Week, 2010 Intercontinental Cup, Honkbalsite, World Port Tournament, 2015 Premier 12