Dirk van 't Klooster
Dirk Gijsbertus van 't Klooster
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 185 lb.
Outfielder Dirk van' t Klooster was a major star in Hoofdklasse and a long-time presence on Dutch national teams, dating back to 1994, when he played for them in the World Junior Championships. In 1997, van 't Klooster was a pitcher for RCH, going 2-3 with a 7.05 ERA; he would be an outfielder primarily thereafter. During the 1998 Baseball World Cup, he hit .421/.442/.526 with 11 RBI while rotating between DH, first base and right field. During the 1999 World Port Tournament, van 't Klooster hit .222/~.262/.222 for the winning Netherlands team. He was 0 for 4 with 5 walks and two runs for the Gold-winning Dutch in the 1999 European Championship. In the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, he was 1 for 12 with four strikeouts.
In 2000, van 't Klooster hit .349, fifth in Hoofdklasse and led the league with four triples. He played in the 2000 Olympics and hit .350, slugging .650 and holding his own with Olympic legends like Orestes Kindelan and Omar Linares while clearly being the top hitter on a team which included ex-major leaguers Rikkert Faneyte, Hensley Meulens and Robert Eenhoorn. In the 2001 Baseball World Cup, he hit .262/.326/.286 as a CF/RF for the Netherlands. In the 2001 World Port Tournament, he batted .432/~.488/.514 with 9 runs in 9 games for the Silver Medalists to win MVP honors. He had the best average in the event. In the 2001 European Championship, Dirk only hit .194/.333/.194 for the lowest average and slugging percentage on the Gold Medal winners.
In 2002, the Neptunus outfielder won the Hoofdklasse batting crown with a .376 mark and led with 74 hits. In the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, he batted .136/.208/.227 as one of the worst producers on the Dutch squad; he did have three outfield assists. He won honors as the tourney's Outstanding Defensive Player. In '03, Neptunus won its fifth consecutive title with Dirk hitting .350, third in the league; he was also third with 34 runs and 57 hits. He hit .278/~.278/.389 for the winning Dutch team in the 2003 European Championship. He was 2 for 8 with a walk in the 2003 Baseball World Cup, splitting right field with Glenn Romney and Harvey Monte. In the 2003 World Port Tournament, van 't Klooster hit .176/~.176/.208 as the least-effective Dutch position player. Dirk batted .358 in 2004 and Neptunus became the first club in the history of the Dutch major league to win six straight titles. Van 't Klooster was second in average and led in hits (57). He also played for the Netherlands in the 2004 Olympics.
The 2005 season was his best yet. At age 29, he hit .403/.459/.597 and led the league in average, hits (71), runs (44), doubles (15) and total bases (105) while finishing second in RBI (34, one behind Evert-Jan 't Hoen) and homers (five, three behind Ivanon Coffie). He won the league MVP award. Neptunus won yet another title as they continued to establish the greatest dynasty in national history. He hit .290/.333/.355 when the Netherlands won the 2005 European Championship; he had 20 putouts, one assist and no errors. In the 2005 Baseball World Cup, van 't Klooster hit .395/.395/.526 as the Netherlands made their first semifinals ever.
Representing the Netherlands in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, he hit .286/.375/.429 with 3 RBI to tie Randall Simon for the team lead. The team's top outfielder, he outproduced the far more famous Andruw Jones and Yurendell de Caster, who had just been named Winter League Player of the Year. In 2006, Dirk moved to Corendon Kinheim and missed six games after testing positive in a test for cannabis. He had been suspended earlier for drug use, but had appealed. He slipped to .318/.359/.386, missing the league's top 10 in average.
In the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, he hit .458/.458/.583 to finish fifth in average, right behind Osmani Urrutia. In the 2007 European Cup, van 't Klooster hit just .227/.227/.364 for Kinheim but hit a homer in the 3-1 win in the finals that gave Kinheim its first European Cup title.
On July 29, 2007, van 't Klooster played in his 163rd official game for the Dutch national team, tying Marcel Joost's record; Dirk held the record for two years, extending it to 206 before Raily Legito tied him in 2009. It was a successful show for the Dutch, who beat the US college national team, 9-3, in the final game of a unprecedented three-game series in the US. It was just the Netherlands' 4th win against the US in the past 25 contests (a five-year period). Van 't Klooster was 1 for 4 with a run in the game.
Van 't Klooster hit .360/.419/.424 in 2007 Hoofdklasse with 44 runs in 40 games. He was 6th in the league in average, tied Danny Rombley for the run lead, was 7th in RBI (32) and second in hits (62). He was 8 for 21 in the playoffs and 4 for 11 with 5 walks, 2 runs and 3 RBI in the 2007 Holland Series as he played on the Holland Series winner for yet another season, having helped Kinheim win two straight after 7 in a row for Neptunus.
Van 't Klooster hit .308/.471/.308 for the Dutch team in the 2007 European Championship, which they won to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. He was 6 for 27 with a walk in the 2007 World Port Tournament. In the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Dirk batted .324/.375/.459 with a team-leading 9 RBI for the 4th-place Dutch entry. He drove in one of the two Netherlands runs in their win over Cuba, the first time a European team had ever beaten Cuba in a Baseball World Cup. Van 't Klooster had been on the only prior Dutch team to beat Cuba when they did so in the 2000 Olympics.
In 2008, van 't Klooster was decked with a 10-game suspension for his role in a large brawl between Kinheim and Neptunus on May 18th. For the 2008 Hoofdklasse season, he hit .331/.392/.368 to finish 7th in average.
Dirk hit .435/.417/.478 in the 2008 European Cup to lead Kinheim to the title; he drove in 7 runs to tie for the Cup lead. His 10 hits also tied for the most.
Van 't Klooster was one of the better Dutch performers in the 2008 Olympics, going 4 for 12 despite five strikeouts. He made no errors in the outfield and had an assist, gunning down Hongbo Zhang when he tried to stretch a single into a double.
Van 't Klooster's run of 8 straight Holland Series titles (2000-2007) ended in 2008 when his Kinheim club was swept in the finals by the Amsterdam Pirates. He was 2 for 11 in the 2008 Holland Series. Dirk went 2 for 7 with four strikeouts in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, splitting right field duties with Eugene Kingsale. His hits were off Roy Oswalt and Ivan Maldonado. Van 't Klooster made an error on a ball hit by Curtis Granderson that led to a run in a 9-3 loss to the USA that eliminated the Netherlands.
In the 2009 European Cup's Matino phase, Dirk was 8 for 16 with 2 runs and 4 RBI to lead the event in hits and help Kinheim advance to the Final Four. He was 3 for 8 with a run in the Final Four. Van 't Klooster was not put on the Dutch national team roster for the 2009 World Port Tournament, their first event he missed since he joined the team in 1998. Van 't Klooster hit .314/.352/.407 in the 2009 Hoofdklasse. He was 8th in RBI (28, between Bas de Jong and Norbert Lokhorst), tied for 5th in doubles (11), tied Fausto Alvarez for 8th in total bases (70) and was 6th in hits (54, between Kingsale and Maikel Benner).
In 2010, Dirk won his third batting title by 24 points over Willie Vasquez; he produced at a .400/.462/.500 rate with 30 runs in 35 games. He was also second in hits (56, one behind Bryan Engelhardt), tied Bas de Jong for third in total bases (70), 4th in slugging (between Legito and Vasquez) and 3rd in OBP (behind Vasquez and Mervin Gario). He was the starting right fielder for the North in the inaugural Hoofdklasse All-Star Game. He returned to the Dutch national team for the 2010 Haarlem Baseball Week, going 2 for 7 in a backup role (Rombley, Bas de Jong, Kingsale and Shaldimar Daantji saw most of the outfield action).
During the 2010 European Championship, van 't Klooster hit .323/.364/.548 with 7 runs and 6 RBI in 11 games in his old role as the starting right fielder for the Netherlands. He drove in three while falling a triple shy of the cycle against the Czech Republic national team and drove in three versus Belgium. In the Gold Medal game, he was 0 for 4 as the Dutch lost, 8-4, to Italy, the first time since 1997 that the Netherlands had not won the Gold at the Euros. It was his last appearance for the national team (through 2013).
Van 't Klooster kept on going strong in 2011. On July 19th, he connected safely off Jan Řeháček for his 1,000th Hoofdklasse hit. Only Joost had previously reached that mark. He hit .400/.444/.500 for the year and won his fourth batting championship (19 points ahead of Vince Rooi). He also was 5th in slugging (between Dwayne Kemp and Percy Isenia), 4th in OBP (between Mike Duursma and Norbert Lokhorst), led in hits (72, 10 more than Kemp), was second with four triples (one behind Kemp), ranked second with 90 total bases (two behind Kemp) and tied Nik Gumeson and Bas de Jong for the most double play grounders (7). Rooi won MVP.
In 2012, he slumped to his lowest average in 16 years, hitting .288/.337/.368. He did star in Kinheim's upset of Neptunus in the 2012 Holland Series, going 7 for 17 with a double, homer and five RBI in four games. He scored the Series's first run, off Diegomar Markwell. He tied Niels van Weert for the Series lead in hits, led in total bases, tied for first in home runs and was second to Remco Draijer in RBI. The Series MVP went to a pitcher, though, in David Bergman.
The veteran was 5 for 24 with a double and two walks for Kinheim in the 2013 European Cup. In the 2013 Hoofdklasse campaign, he rebounded somewhat to .299/.371/.373 with 36 runs in 41 games, placing him on the league leaderboard in runs (tied for 7th with Benjamin Dille), hits (tied for 4th with 53, even with Dille and Rombley) and 9th in total bases (66). He was just 3 for 21 with four walks in the 2014 European Cup. In 2014, he made history, breaking Joost's Hoofdklasse record of 1,166 hits with a July 27th single off Eddie Oropesa. He also tied Joost's games played record that day with his 859th game. Four days later, he broke Joost's record for games.
Dirk is the son of former Hoofdklasse player Peter van 't Klooster.
Sources include 2001-2006 Baseball Almanacs, Marco Stoovelaar's page on Dutch baseball, Worldbaseballclassic.com, Defunct 2005 Baseball World Cup site, Defunct IBAF website, Mister Baseball, 2008 European Cup Kinheim stats, 2008 Olympics, Wayback Archive of the 2005 European Championship site