Han Urbanus

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Han Urbanus.jpg

Hendrikus Johannes Urbanus

  • Throws Right

Biographical Information[edit]

Han Urbanus is a member of the Dutch Baseball Hall of Fame. He is the brother of Charles Urbanus Sr., the father of Charles Urbanus Jr. (it is unclear why Charles Jr. is called Jr. when his uncle was Sr.) and Johan Urbanus and the grandfather of Nick Urbanus.

Urbanus debuted in the senior Dutch leagues at age 15 in 1942. He pitched over 150 consecutive complete games in a 8-year period. He went to spring training with the New York Giants in 1952 and 1953, the first Dutch player to come to the US. He only threw a fastball and a self-taught curveball when he first trained with the Giants. While in training with them, he learned a curveball from Sal Maglie and also developed a change-up. In 1952, the extra work showed as he tossed a no-hitter and two one-hitters and averaged 12 strikeouts per game to help OVVO to the Hoofdklasse title. It was one of five titles OVVO won with Urbanus.

The New York Giants offered Urbanus a contract in 1953 but he opted to return to the Netherlands to finish his studies as a CPA (his primary career in terms of finances as baseball in the Netherlands did not pay well) and get married. He would work as an auditor for 35 years.

From 1953-1955, Urbanus was named the Best Pitcher in Hoofdklasse, the first three years the award was given out. He won again in 1957-1958. While Herman Beidschat broke his record for Best Pitcher awards, it would be 50 years until another hurler, Rob Cordemans, also matched Han. He was named MVP in 1954-1955 and again in 1961.

Urbanus helped the Dutch national team win the 1956 European Championship, the first major event they entered. He picked up two of their four wins and outdueled Italy's Giulio Glorioso with a 5-hit 2-run effort in the Dutch win over the country that would emerge as their top rival in the European Championships. He also helped them win the 1957 European Championship, 1962 European Championship, 1964 European Championship and 1965 European Championship.

In 1959, Urbanus led Hoofdklasse in batting average (.348), proving himself to be a two-way threat.

Urbanus threw five no-hitters in the Hoofdklasse - one in 1953, two in 1954, one in 1955, one in 1956 and one in 1961. He holds league records for no-hitters in a season (1954) and shutouts in a year (7 in 1955, later tied by Beidschat). Urbanus's 213 strikeouts in 1955 are tied for the record in the post-World War II era. He was the only Dutch player to appear in four decades, finishing his career in 1970. He also set the Hoofdklasse record with 24 seasons pitched, all with OVVO. The four-decade mark was equaled by Marcel Joost and Marcel Kruyt (both 1970s-2000s) while René Rijst played in his 27th Hoofdklasse season in 2008.

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