Friday, March 8, 2019

ANNIVERSARY: A Decade Ago the Netherlands WBC Triumph

Sunday March 10th marks the 10th anniversary of the night the Netherlands pulled off one of the biggest upsets in international baseball history. The game was celebrated on an Allen & Ginter's cabinet card.

2009 Allen & Ginter's Box Topper / Cabinet #CB1 Team Netherlands

I challenge you to find the major leaguers in the Netherlands lineup.

Yet this line up beat a Dominican team with a roster that included Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Moises Alou, Hanley Ramirez, Migquel Tejada, Nelson Cruz and was led by David Ortiz. The lead pitchers for the game were Ubaldo Jimenez and Pedro Martinez. 

However the Netherland no-name pitching staff matched Jimenez for the entire game which was scoreless through 10. The Dominicans took a 1-0 lead in the 11th when Jose Reyes scored on an Netherlands error by Greg Kingsale. Kingsale then redeemed himself in the bottom of the inning by with a game tying single. He then came around to score on a Yurendell de Caster grounder that was misplayed by Dominican first baseman Willy Aybar. Note that Kingsale and de Caster are the two players named on the A&G cabinet card. 

Crazy Game and Team Phungo was there. This was right after the Phillies won the World Series and was definitely near a high point in my baseball fandom. I loved going to the WBC has both a baseball vacation and a spring break vaca in beautiful pre-Hurricane Puerto Rico.     

The ticket above is actually from the previous game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican - notice above where it says "General Admission" you can see the date 9 de marzo de 2009 or 9th of March 2009. I have the 3/10 tix somewhere but due to laziness, I didn't bother trying to find it for this posting. The signature on the tix is Sidney Ponson.

To read a 2009 column on my WBC experience click here.

Sloppy Topps
Unfortunately there is a minor timing infraction on Topps part with the photo used on this card. Netherlands upset the Dominican twice in the WBC and I believe the image here is from the first of the two games. The Netherlands wore white unis the night they clinched. The dark jerseys were worn for the first meeting.

I don't think that either of the players the card honors, de Caster or Kingsale is prominent in the picture.  Longtime Detroit Tiger Randall Simon is the happy guy wearing #35.

Greg Halman
In the not fun fact column we have Greg Halman who is prominently featured on the above cabinet card. Halman was stabbed to death by his brother Jason in 2011. The brother was acquitted due to  being in a state of psychosis when the stabbing occurred.

10 Years Later
Couple of fun facts beyond the historic nature of this game. Big Papi played in the field despite the WBC using a DH. Turns out the Dominican team roster had THREE shortstops Reyes, Ramirez, and Tejada. The only way to get them all in the lineup was to use one to DH (Hanley) and one at 3rd Base (Tejada). So yeah here you have the rare game where Hanley Ramirez is the DH while David Ortiz played first base. Also notice that the game ending error was made by Papi's defensive replacement Willy Aybar.

My second fun box score note is related to the Netherlands catcher - go ahead check the box above. Yes it is that Kenley Jansen, the LA Dodgers closer before he was converted to pitcher.

2009 A&G Cabinets
There are 5 cards in the 2009 A&G Cabinets set. Among the prominent players represented on the boxtoppers are Ichiro, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brian Roberts and David Wright.

Sources and Links
Phungo Game Dated Cards
CBS Sports
Baseball-ref/BR Bullpen

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions