Eric de Bruin
Eric de Bruin
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 176 lb.
De Bruin debuted in the Hoofdklasse in 1982, hitting just .219 in 16 games for Sparta. In '83, he batted .256 and slugged .316. He improved those marks to .340 and .375 in 1984 and .339 and .412 in 1985. He fell to .318/.409 in 1986 but rebounded to over .300 with a slugging percentage over .500 in 1987 while moving to Neptunus. He played in the 1987 European Championship, which was won by his Netherlands team.
In 1988, de Bruin batted .394 with a .584 slugging percentage. He was named the Best Outfielder in the 1988 Haarlem Baseball Week. In the 1988 Baseball World Cup, Eric hit .211/.333/.211 as the starting Dutch left fielder. He also played in the 1988 Olympics.
De Bruin hit .372 and slugged .521 for Neptunus in '89. He was named the Most Popular Player in the 1989 World Port Tournament, which the Netherlands won. He played in the 1989 European Championship in which the Orange finished second to Italy.
The Rotterdam native kept going strong in 1990, hitting .403 and slugging .539. He also set a league record with 43 walks in 41 games. He produced at just a .185/.303/.222 rate as the Dutch 1B in the 1990 Baseball World Cup. He hit .307/?/.480 with 41 runs in 36 games in the 1991 Hoofdklasse. He was with the Netherlands in the 1991 European Championship, when they again settled for a Silver Medal. He had six hits in one game of the 1991 Holland Series, a Holland Series record.
De Bruin batted .410 and slugged .535 for Neptunus in 1992 with 16 doubles, 43 runs and 37 RBI in 41 contests. He won the batting title that season. He took home the Carl Angelo Award at the 1992 Haarlem Baseball Week. He fell to .279/?/.314 in 1993 but was still on the Dutch squad for the 1993 European Championship, when they claimed Gold. He hit .238/.543/.286 with an amazing 14 walks in 7 games, scoring six and driving in six. He led the event in walks (four ahead of Jamel Boutagra) and was second in OBP (behind Johan Hasselström). His 68 error-free chances at 1B were second to Jim Sasko.
He was voted the Most Popular Player at the 1993 World Port Tournament, becoming the first two-time winner (and only one through 2010).
Eric was back at first for the Netherlands in the 1994 Baseball World Cup but put on an abysmal show, going 3 for 21 with 3 walks. During the '94 Hoofdklasse, the 30-year-old hit .283 and slugged .415 for Neptunus. In 1995, he rebounded to bat .378 with a .532 slugging percentage.
De Bruin was a dominant force in the 1995 European Championship, hitting .444/.643/.519 to help the Netherlands to the Gold Medal. He was named the tourney's All-Star 1B, but lost MVP honors to teammate Johnny Balentina. Eric was 10th in the event in average, 2nd in OBP and 1st with 14 walks. He also played in the 1995 Intercontinental Cup, going 6 for 16 with a walk and a homer as the Dutch first bagger.
In '96, de Bruin hit .333 and slugged .500 for Neptunus. He appeared in the 1996 Olympics, hitting .471/.571/.647 as a strong offensive presence at first for the Netherlands. He joined longtime national teammate Marcel Joost and Edsel Martis as the leading Dutch batters. It would be his swan song with the Netherlands national squad as a player after 106 games.
De Bruin hit .302 and slugged .524 for Neptunus in 1997 with 7 homers in 40 games. He batted .330/?/.386 in '98. Leaving Neptunus for Sparta/Feyenoord in 1999, he remained solid with a .370 average and .630 slugging percentage, 8 homers, 38 runs and 38 RBI in 41 games. He finished his career the next season with Sparta.
De Bruin coached for the Dutch national team from 2001-2004, including in the 2001 European Championship, 2003 European Championship and 2004 Olympics. He also managed the Netherlands in the 2006 World Junior Championship. He was head coach of Neptunus in 2007-2008, falling in the semifinals both years. He left that job after 2008 to focus on his off-field career as a board member of the Dutch division of AIG, the company which was heavily involved in the global economic collapse. He returned as a coach for the Dutch team in the 2011 World Youth Championship and managed the Netherlands in the 2017 U-18 Baseball World Cup.