Eugène Humphrey Kingsale
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 170-190 lb.
Eugène Kingsale was a member of the Dutch national team from 2003-2009. The first Aruban major leaguer, Kingsale played parts of six seasons in the majors. He then went on to the Netherlands to continue his career. He is one of the few major league players who is also a knight.
Kingsale broke into Organized Baseball as a 18-year-old with the GCL Orioles in 1994. He hit .310/.381/.357 and stole 15 bases in 23 tries, leading the team in steals, hits (52), runs (26), triples (3) and average. League managers rated him as the #9 prospect in the league, between Hiram Bocachica and Ramon Castro. He was not the highest-rated Dutch citizen as Andruw Jones was ranked third.
In 1995, Eugène hit .316/~.409/.404 with 45 runs and 20 steals (in 28 tries) in 47 games. He was 9th in the Appalachian League in average and helped the Bluefield Orioles to the best regular-season record in the league. One negative was that he led the Appy League's outfielders with 11 errors. Baseball America rated him as the #6 Orioles prospect.
Kingsale hit .271/~.346/.355 with 23 steals in 27 tries in 1996 and led the Frederick Keys in stolen bases. Baseball America rated him as the fastest baserunner in the Carolina League. A September call-up, he was the first player from Aruba in the major leagues - he made his debut five days earlier than fellow Aruban Calvin Maduro. In his major league debut on September 3rd, he replaced B.J. Surhoff as a defensive substitute and caught one fly from J.T. Snow. He did not bat with the Orioles, playing twice as a defensive sub and once as a pinch-runner. Baseball America rated him as the #3 prospect in the Orioles chain, following Nerio Rodriguez and fellow Aruban Sidney Ponson. He was the youngest player in the American League that year.
The young flyhawk split 1997 between the Bowie Baysox (.413 in 13 games) and the GCL Orioles (.294 in 6 games) as he battled injury. In 1998, Kingsale was healthy, hitting .262/~.337/.319 with 29 steals (in 41 tries) for Bowie as their most-used center fielder. He also appeared with the Rochester Red Wings (.218/~.271/.273 in 18 games) and the major league Orioles (0 for 2, 1 R as a pinch-runner and defensive sub once more). Kingsale hit his first professional home run in his 1,028th at-bat. Strangely, he then hit 3 in his next 74 at-bats.
In 1999, Kingsale appeared for Bowie (.235/~.319/.340 in 67 games), Rochester (.309/~.353/.387 in 48) and Baltimore (.247/.301/.271 in 28). His baserunning was off as he stole 25 bases but was caught 22 times. He got his first major league hit, a double off C.J. Nitkowski of the Detroit Tigers, in his third MLB at-bat but 15th game.
In 2000, Kingsale played at every level of Organized Baseball - he hit .239/.253/.284 in 26 games for the Orioles (MLB), was 4 for 10 in 2 games for Rochester (AAA), hit .364/.500/.818 in 3 games for Bowie (AA), hit .440/.462/.660 in 6 games for Frederick (A) and batted .313/.429/.313 with 7 runs in 5 games for the GCL Orioles (Rookie).
Kingsale hit just .201/.283/.266 for Rochester in 64 games in 2001 (though he was 16-for-18 in steal attempts) and was 0 for 4 with the big-league Orioles. Waived by Baltimore, he was picked up by the Seattle Mariners. He played for their Tacoma Rainiers farm team, hitting .293/.327/.437 in 51 games and he also hit .333 in 10 games for the Mariners.
Kingsale played in 2002 for Tacoma and did well (.261/.317/.468, 10 steals in 13 tries, 24 extra base hits in 186 AB, 1.000% fielding percentage). He was also 2 for 3 for the Mariners. Waived by Seattle, he was grabbed by the San Diego Padres, who installed him as a regular outfielder. Playing on a regular basis in the majors for the first time, he batted .278/.346/.380 for a 100 OPS+ and stole 9 bases while only being caught twice.
He joined the Dutch national team for the first time that year. In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, he shined, hitting .381/.480/.810 with 7 runs in 6 games. He was only third on the team in OPS as Sharnol Adriana and Ivanon Coffie did even better.
He was knighted to the Order of Oranje-Nassau in 2003 by Aruban Governor-General Olindo Koolman. He was also knighted by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands in 2004 along with fellow major league players Calvin Maduro and Sidney Ponson in a ceremony in Oranjestad, Aruba.
Kingsale began 2004 by hitting .205/.327/.409 in 290 games for the Portland Beavers. Released by San Diego, with whom he had signed after the 2003 season, he was signed by the Orioles once again. He split his time between Bowie (.288/.381/.436 in 43 games) and the Aberdeen Ironbirds (4 for 10, 3B, 2 SB). In the 2004 Olympics, he hit .346/.414/.654 for the Netherlands to lead the team in average and slugging (Chairon Isenia edged him in OBP). He won one of the SportStar Awards as the top European performer in baseball during the 2004 Summer Games.
Eugène finished his Organized Baseball career in 2005, spending time with the Ottawa Lynx (.344/.417/.438 in 20 games) and Bowie (.229/.317/.320 in 51 games). In the 2005 Baseball World Cup, he hit .250/.327/.292 yet still scored 14 runs and drove in 9 in 11 games as the host Netherlands made it to the Bronze Medal Game for the first time ever. He led the event in runs scored despite his unimpressive batting line. He produced three of the Dutch team's 6 runs in their 7-6 loss in the Bronze Medal game.
He played for the Netherlands in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He went 0 for 5 in the opener against Puerto Rico, stranding five as the leadoff man. He did better in game two against the Cuban national team, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a run. He scored the Netherlands' last run in the 11-2 loss when he singled off of Adiel Palma and came around on a hit by Randall Simon.
That year, Kingsale began his career in Hoofdklasse with Almere. He hit .333/.486/.444 and ranked among the leaders in average (7th), OBP (first, .26 ahead of Sidney de Jong), slugging (tied for 7th), steals (tied for 8th with 8; he was only caught once), triples (tied for 6th with 3) and walks (tied for 5th with 27).
Kingsale also appeared for the Dutch national team in the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, hitting .289/.386/.342 with 8 runs and 7 RBI in 9 games. In the Gold Medal game, he hit a 2nd-inning double off of Norge Vera, scoring Danny Rombley and Mike Duursma for a 2-0 Netherlands lead. They went on to lose, 6-3. Kingsale tied Raily Legito for the team lead in runs scored. He played for the Netherlands in the 2006 Haarlem Baseball Week.
Kingsale was injured twice in 2007. He suffered a concussion when he was hit by a pitch on April 22nd. Then, on June 6th, he tore a tendon in his knee. He had season-ending surgery and also missed the 2007 Baseball World Cup. He had only hit .140/.317/.200 in 15 games in 2007, with 10 walks and 11 runs being the lone positives.
Kingsale was considered a leader on the Dutch national team, so much so that he was brought along with the team to the 2007 European Championships in Barcelona even though he wasn't able to play due to injury, only for moral support and team leadership. The Dutch went undefeated and gained a ticket to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Kingsale was a top Neptunus player in the 2008 European Cup in Regensburg. He hit .500/.615/.611 with 6 runs and 8 RBI in 5 games for the third-place team. He was second in average in the Regensburg event, tied for third in hits (9) and led with 8 RBI.
In the 2008 Hoofdklasse, the Aruban batted .326/.489/.522 for Neptunus with 36 runs in 38 games. He had a 1088 OPS in the playoffs but Neptunus was eliminated. He was 10th in the league in average, second in slugging (behind Sidney de Jong), tied de Jong for 2nd in OBP (behind Raily Legito), tied Bryan Engelhardt and Fausto Alvarez for third in home runs (5), tied Mark Duursma and Benjamin Dille for second in runs (36, 2 behind de Jong), tied for second in triples (3) and was third in walks (33, trailing Legito and de Jong).
Kingsale was the worst Dutch hitter in the 2008 Olympics, going 1 for 17 without a walk or extra-base hit despite having the most MLB experience on the team. He had as many errors as walks as he dropped a fly in a game against Taiwan. The Netherlands had its worst Olympic performance, going 1-7.
Kingsale bounced back in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, hitting .292/.346/.292 as the third-best Dutch hitter after Sidney de Jong and Bryan Engelhardt. He alternated between right field (with Dirk van 't Klooster) and center field (with Greg Halman). Gene started the Dutch offensive in their 3-2 upset of the Dominican national team with a bunt single off Edinson Volquez; he came around on a wild pitch. In the second game against the Dominican Republic, Kingsale played both Goat and Hero. In the top of the 11th of a scoreless game, he dropped a fly from Jose Reyes for a run-scoring error. In the bottom of the inning, he singled off Carlos Marmol to score de Jong with the tying run. When Marmol made an error on a pickoff attempt, Kingsale raced to third. He then scored on a Willy Aybar miscue.
In the 2009 World Port Tournament, Kingsale hit .306/.444/.306 and had 3 outfield assists in 10 games. His 9 walks were second to Mike Duursma in the event. He was 5th in the event in OBP behind three Cubans and Bas de Jong.
- 1995-2008 Baseball Almanacs
- Defunct IBAF site
- Dutch Baseball Federation
- 2008 European Cup in Regensburg
- 2008 Olympics
- World Baseball Classic site