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Sad Story About Win Remerswaal
The player, not the poster

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MargoAdamsLoveChild 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:23 AM

Starting this thread for DutchRSFan, who has a sad story about Win Remerswaal to relate.

Have at it, Dutch!
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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:30 AM

I came across a newspaper article about Win Remmerswaal, posted on a Dutch Baseball Forum. The article was written in September when the Baseball World Cup was being held in The Netherlands. Win Remmerswaal was the first baseball player from the Netherlands who moved to the US to play baseball over there. Other than the article states, there were some other players born in the Netherlands who played baseball in the MLB before him (like Bert Blijleven) but as far as I know they initially moved to the US for reasons other than baseball.

Here's my attempt to translate the article:



Wednesday 14 September 2005 - THE HAGUE

(By HENNY HAGGEMAN of the Eindhoven's Dagblad)

Far away from Fenway Park.

Win Remmerswaal (51) was the first Dutch baseballplayer to play in the Major League. Sitting in a wheelchair in a nursing home in The Hague, Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, is far away.

From his nursing home 'Sammersburg' Win Remmerswaal isn't watching the baseball worldcup. The former Red Sox Pitcher stays away from the event that is taking place in The Netherlands because he thinks the best players are playing in the US and not in the world cup.

At least, that is what his 80 year old father Jaap says. Jaap visits his only living son twice a week eventhough it is hard to have a conversation with him. The only other visit Win gets is the yearly visit during Christmas from his daughter from a marriage to an Italian woman. The man who was the first Dutchman to play in the American baseballheaven is living in a very small world after waking from a coma with braindamage in 1997.

In the early 60's, the four Remmerswaal boys could hardly be kept away from the baseball field in Wassenaar situated directly behind their family home. 'Winneke' (third in line, born in 1954 and named after Winston Churchill) became the phenomenon.

At age 18 the picther of The Storks from the Hague made his debut in the Dutch National team, two years later he signed a contract in the States. Something considered impossible untill then.

In the US Win was considered 'flaky', meaning 'unpredictable outsider (???)'. As a player for the Red Sox he became infamous when he overslepped before a game against the New York Yankees. He decided to take a cab from the hotel to the stadium. The cabdriver headed for Shea Stadium were the New York Jets were to play an American Football game later that day. Win didn't find out about the mistake untill he was in the lockerroom.

In two periods in 1979 and 1980 Win played in 22 major league games for the Red Sox, being able to compete but not excel. An injury to his pitching arm in 1980 ended his US career as he was no longer able to throw a decent fastball. "He got a taste of stardom and spent a short time with the greats, " tells his father, "when he wanted to earn his money, things went wrong. I've never seen him play at Fenway. Before I could visit him, his career was over."

Without his fastball Win went to Italy to play in Parma, where he got maried. Later he became coach. Then things turned for the worst. He divorced and returned to the Netherlands where he became part of the Remmerswaal family drama.

Within 10 years father Remmerswaal lost his wife and his sons Harry, Hans and Jerry. Win was the only who survived but got addicted to alcohol and lived on the streets.

His way of life resulted in double pneumonia, leading to pleuritis (?). At age 42 he got in to a coma. Doctors gave up on him but after three weeks he woke up, with braindamage.

The once celebrated pitcher now sits in a wheelchair, has a hard time eating and can hardly communicate. "He is far away from Fenway Park," says his father, who just like his only living son has accepted their destiny.

This post has been edited by DutchRSfan: 30 November 2005 - 09:32 AM

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Wilhemus Remmerswaal 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:34 AM

So I had a little too much spiked eggnog at the office party and proceeded to perform an X-rated version of "Santa Baby" in the nude! What, a guy can't get into the holiday spirit without RSN starting threads about me and besmirching my good Dutch name?

Geez, what a witchhunt!


EDIT: Damn, couldn't type my post fast enough to beat Dutch's posting...what a sad, sad tale indeed. Godspeed, WR.

This post has been edited by Wilhemus Remmerswaal: 30 November 2005 - 09:37 AM

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JayhawkBill 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 10:27 AM

DRSF, thanks.

It's a shame that Win Remmerswaal didn't understand the US and the Red Sox fans to know that there would always have been a place for him around Boston--nothing too grand, perhaps, for a guy who only pitched 22 games with a 5.50 ERA, but some quiet sales position where he would've had a steady paycheck and a just-as-steady stream of grateful fans thanking him for being part of the team and pitching his best for 55 and 2/3 innings.

If anyone has any good ideas, the BR Win Remmerswaal page is available for adoption.
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Skip Romero 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 11:18 AM

View PostJayhawkBill, on Nov 30 2005, 10:23 AM, said:

DRSF, thanks.

It's a shame that Win Remmerswaal didn't understand the US and the Red Sox fans to know that there would always have been a place for him around Boston--nothing too grand, perhaps, for a guy who only pitched 22 games with a 5.50 ERA, but some quiet sales position where he would've had a steady paycheck and a just-as-steady stream of grateful fans thanking him for being part of the team and pitching his best for 55 and 2/3 innings.

If anyone has any good ideas, the BR Win Remmerswaal page is available for adoption.


That's awful. Why is it that guys like Win Remmerswaal always wind up on the streets, and not guys like Latrell Sprewell.
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scotian1 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 01:17 PM

View PostSkip Romero, on Nov 30 2005, 12:14 PM, said:

That's awful. Why is it that guys like Win Remmerswaal always wind up on the streets, and not guys like Latrell Sprewell.


This is a question that haunts us all. A writer by the name of Harold Kushner wrote a book in an attempt to explain it from his perspective. It is entitled "When Bad Things Happen To Good People".

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/038060392...glance&n=283155

Anyway WR my prayers are with you and your father.
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MargoAdamsLoveChild 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 01:21 PM

This is truly a horrible outcome for poor Win. A life that started out with such promise just kind of fell by the wayside.

DutchRSFan, thanks for posting that translation.
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rominer 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 01:45 PM

View PostSkip Romero, on Nov 30 2005, 08:14 AM, said:

That's awful. Why is it that guys like Win Remmerswaal always wind up on the streets, and not guys like Latrell Sprewell.


If it's any consolation, Latrell isn't getting paid this year, so it's hard to imagine that he's going to able to afford to feed his family.

Seriously, though - I would imagine it can be a depressing life to be a former pro athlete, whether because of the lingering "what might have been" questions, or simply because even the best and luckiest athletes face retirement at an age when most adults are really just hitting their stride.

There seemed to be a big gap in this story though. All of a sudden, his mother and 3 brothers were dead. No mention of what happened.

I feel for the guy either way, though. That's no kind of life. He's only a few months older than my father. I sure can't imagine my father sitting in a wheelchair drooling. Not the kind of life I would wish upon anyone.
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foultip 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 02:23 PM

I read somewhere ( in fact I think it was a Cambridge interview ) than Win was the most memorable player in the entire history of Pawtucket and it wasn't wasn't for on the field reasons.

Cambridge?
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Cambridge 

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 02:34 PM

View Postfoultip, on Nov 30 2005, 02:19 PM, said:

I read somewhere ( in fact I think it was a Cambridge interview ) than Win was the most memorable player in the entire history of Pawtucket and it wasn't wasn't for on the field reasons.

Cambridge?


http://www.redsoxnat...showtopic=16274
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VIBaseball 

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 05:52 PM

View PostCambridge, on 30 November 2005 - 02:34 PM, said:



I am working with a Dutch colleague on a short bio of Win Remmerswaal for the SABR BioProject. I was able to find one of the funny Mike Tamburro stories about Win's flaky antics in Pawtucket here, but unfortunately the whole thread mentioned above no longer seems to be available. If it could please be restored, or the key parts made available to me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.
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BigSlick 

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 06:02 PM

View PostVIBaseball, on 15 November 2010 - 05:52 PM, said:

I am working with a Dutch colleague on a short bio of Win Remmerswaal for the SABR BioProject. I was able to find one of the funny Mike Tamburro stories about Win's flaky antics in Pawtucket here, but unfortunately the whole thread mentioned above no longer seems to be available. If it could please be restored, or the key parts made available to me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.


Hi VI and welcome to the board. A few years ago there was some kind of server issue and a few months worth of posts were lost forever. I can only assume that the thread you are asking about was part of what was lost.
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VIBaseball 

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 10:15 AM

I got a big assist here and this story is done. When it goes live, I'll let the board know.
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VIBaseball 

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:46 PM

The Remmerswaal story is live, with flavorful contributions from Red Sox figures "Walpole Joe" Morgan and John Tudor, not to mention the full anecdotes from the Red Sox Nation book.

http://bioproj.sabr....=3621&pid=11797

This post has been edited by VIBaseball: 03 January 2011 - 08:46 PM

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Sox Sweep Again 

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:42 PM

View PostVIBaseball, on 03 January 2011 - 08:46 PM, said:

The Remmerswaal story is live, with flavorful contributions from Red Sox figures "Walpole Joe" Morgan and John Tudor, not to mention the full anecdotes from the Red Sox Nation book.

http://bioproj.sabr....=3621&pid=11797


How cool.

I missed this thread five years ago and I'm happy I read it now.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v719/Sox_Sweep_Again/RemmerswaalWin2.jpg

I really started following the Red Sox in 1977, so of course as an 11-year-old I thought Win Remmerswaal was going to be an ace.

From VIB's article:

"During the 1973 European Baseball Championship, Remmerswaal played a key role in beating the Italian national team. In a preliminary match, Italy took a 6-4 lead in the third inning, but Win “entered the game and threw 6 2/3 innings of spectacular relief. He would yield no runs and only two hits and two walks. He also struck out nine as the Netherlands prevailed 7-6.” The Dutch beat Italy again in the final, and Win was honored as the tournament’s best pitcher.[3]

Remmerswaal had a very bright mind. Bruce Hurst, a Red Sox teammate, recalled in 2006 that Win could speak seven languages and that he would tell extensive technical stories in the bullpen – for example, why an airplane can fly. In 1974, however, the young Dutchman quit his studies at the Technical University in Delft to chase his dream of becoming a big-league player. First he got a tryout with the Kansas City Royals, but on November 22, 1974, the Red Sox signed him as a non-drafted free agent. Boston’s general manager, Dick O’Connell, had spotted him while touring the Netherlands and brought him over.[4] Dutch national coach Cees Herkemij also played a role.

Remmerswaal’s first three pro seasons were good if not extraordinary. The slender righty (6’2”, 160 pounds) moved up steadily from Class A to Triple-A, moving back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen. He did not typically strike out a great many batters, though he once whiffed 15 at Class A Winter Haven in 1975 (losing the game on three unearned runs). However, his control was usually good. In 1977, starting in all of his 23 appearances for Bristol (Connecticut), Win led the Double-A Eastern League with four shutouts.

During his first years in the U.S., Win had a hard time surviving the life of a ballplayer. He really missed Europe with its different cultures. In a 1978 interview with the Dutch magazine Nieuwe Revu, he talked about the wild parties in hotel rooms, which would be trashed. He had to fight not only ruthless competition for the majors but also himself and the temptations of the baseball culture: pills and booze..."

This post has been edited by Sox Sweep Again: 03 January 2011 - 09:58 PM

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 01:52 AM

Just visited him in the nursing home. He is able to speak a little bit better than in the past.Plug in his name in youtube and you will see him on the local TVwest.
I met him on his second day in Pawtucket in the Howard Johnson motel; John T. was his room mate. After post-season we drove to FLA to enjoy beach life.
The good old days.

A fellow pitcher from the lowlands.
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Sox Sweep Again 

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 03:00 AM

View Postnichada16, on 08 November 2011 - 01:52 AM, said:

Just visited him in the nursing home. He is able to speak a little bit better than in the past.Plug in his name in youtube and you will see him on the local TVwest.
I met him on his second day in Pawtucket in the Howard Johnson motel; John T. was his room mate. After post-season we drove to FLA to enjoy beach life.
The good old days.

A fellow pitcher from the lowlands.


Nice! Tell stories!
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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:06 AM

Welcome, Nichada! We'd love to hear more from you!
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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:36 AM

View Postnichada16, on 08 November 2011 - 01:52 AM, said:

Just visited him in the nursing home. He is able to speak a little bit better than in the past.Plug in his name in youtube and you will see him on the local TVwest.
I met him on his second day in Pawtucket in the Howard Johnson motel; John T. was his room mate. After post-season we drove to FLA to enjoy beach life.
The good old days.

A fellow pitcher from the lowlands.

I was fascinated by your post. I assume John T was John Tudor? I know he was a minor leaguer at that time (Late 70's) with the Sox. He (Win R)was such a whacky character in Red Sox (even more so Pawtcuket) history. Must have been some wild times.

This post has been edited by Manny's PS2: 08 November 2011 - 11:01 AM

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nichada16 

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 01:27 PM

View PostManny, on 08 November 2011 - 10:36 AM, said:

I was fascinated by your post. I assume John T was John Tudor? I know he was a minor leaguer at that time (Late 70's) with the Sox. He (Win R)was such a whacky character in Red Sox (even more so Pawtcuket) history. Must have been some wild times.

John T. was the LH p with slightly less speed than Win.I saw both them pitching in AAA. During the first night at the Howard J. an extra bed was placed in the hotel room for me. We went out with Joe M. the p. coach. I presume Win. R and John T. both just got transferred from AA and I ended up in the same room. During my last week visit to Win I showed him my photoalbum with the pictures taken in Pawtucket and FLA. I have played with both his brothers(2ndb and p) in the team, so know his family very well.
Check out youtube " win remmerswaal" some old 1973 Storks shots were taken by my father.

a submariner from lowlands
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