Rikkert Faneyte

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Rikkert Faneyte

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Biographical Information[edit]

Rikkert Faneyte is a former Dutch outfielder/pitcher. He played in twelve seasons in the Hoofdklasse, parts of six seasons in the minors and four seasons in the major leagues. He also played in two Olympics and numerous international competitions. His father José Faneyte and brother Martin Faneyte played in the Hoofdklasse. [1] His grandfather Max Rietbergen played and coached in the Netherlands and Rietbergen's uncle Jan Smidt was also a star in the Hoofdklasse. [2]

Amateur Career[edit]

Faneyte is son of a baseball player from the Netherlands Antilles and an Amsterdam softball player.[3] He began his career in 1985 at the age of fifteen with the Amsterdam Pirates playing in the Hoofdklasse. He was the second-youngest player ever in Hoofdklasse. [4]By the following year he was on the Dutch national team. At eighteen, he was the MVP at the 1987 European Championships in Barcelona, Spain. He was also Hoofdklasse MVP in 1987. Faneyte appeared in two games for the Oranje in the 1988 Olympic Demonstration Tournament in Seoul, getting two hits and scoring a run in 8 at-bats.[5] With Faneyte, the Pirates were the national champions in both 1987 and 1990.

Faneyte went to college in Miami, FL in the United States and therefore was eligible for the MLB Draft. He was selected in the 16th round of the 1990 amateur draft by San Francisco Giants and he would later sign with the club on March 19, 1991.

In the 1990 Baseball World Cup, Faneyte batted .419/.514/.871 with 9 runs, 9 RBI, five doubles, 3 home runs, 4 steals and a 1.000 fielding percentage as the Dutch center fielder. He made the All-Star team for the tournament for his outfield work. In addition, he threw four scoreless innings and got the only save for the Netherlands.

In the Minors[edit]

Faneyte began his career with the Clinton Giants in the class A Midwest League in 1991. He played in 107 games hitting for a .255/~.361/.375 line with 7 triples, 73 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. His plate approach led him to get struck out 106 times versus 61 walks. Stil he earned a promotion to the A-Advanced California League's San Jose Giants in 1992. There he continued to hit well (.263/~.400/.392) with a 9 home runs, 17 stolen bases and had a much improved K/BB ratio at 65/76 (.903).

His hitting earned Faneyte a promotion to AAA Phoenix (Pacific Coast League) in 1993, one step below the top club. For the Firebirds he had his best season-to-date hitting .312/~.375/.453 in 115 games. He had 11 home runs and 71 RBI and runs scored to go with 23 doubles. Faneyte was a PCL all-star outfielder. His bat earned him a late-season call-up with the Giants.

In Major Leagues[edit]

On August 29, 1993, Faneyte made his debut against the Florida Marlins, leading off for the visiting Giants at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami. He grounded out to the shortstop in his first at-bat, but singled to right in the fourth and finished the game one for five. He remained with the team for the rest of the season appearing in six more games but only got one more hit in ten at-bats. He was the second Dutch-born and -raised player to make the majors, following Win Remmerswaal.

Faneyte started the 1994 season in Phoenix but was called up to San Francisco in early June. In his 19 big league games that year he only started three and was primarily used as a pinch-hitter. In 26 at-bats he only had 3 hits - all doubles - and walked three times to give him a .115/.207/.231 line. He was sent back down to the PCL club in late July. Faneyte again had a good season in Phoenix where he hit .334/~.388/.463 in 94 games. He had 6 home runs and 6 triples, scored 62 times and drove in 57 runs.

For the third consecutive year Faneyte started the 1995 with the Firebirds. However, despite having his worst season in Phoenix, only hitting .274/~.351/.370 in 35 games, he was again called up in June and played for the Giants for the remainder of the season. He would appear in 46 games and hit at .198/.289/.267 clip. He got 17 hits, including 4 doubles and a triple, in 86 at-bats but struck out 27 times and was only had 11 walks.

After the Giants[edit]

On December 1, 1995, Faneyte was sent to Texas Rangers for future considerations. He again began the season in AAA, this time with the Oklahoma City 89ers of the American Association. He was called up to the Rangers for 8 games in May of 1996. He went 1 for 5 and was used as a late-inning defensive replacement. Faneyte played in what would be his last Major League game on May 29th. In 93 games for the AAA club he hit .236/~.307/.368 in 364 at bats. He had 11 home runs and 15 doubles, drove in 44 and scored 53 runs. After the season ended, on December 23, 1996, Faneyte was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds, again for future considerations.

Faneyte retired from the American leagues before the start of the 1997 season and returned to the Netherlands. In 80 MLB games he had 23 hits in 132 at-bats, with 7 doubles, and a triple. He scored 10 runs and drove in 9, struck out 42 times, walked 16 times and stole a base. His career line in the majors was .174/.264/.242. On the other hand, he hit .281/~.366/.409 in 541 minor league games and just over 2000 at-bats. He had 566 hits, 44 of which were home runs, scored 350 runs, drove in 284 runs and stole 81 bases.

Return to the Netherlands[edit]

Faneyte returned to his old club, the Amsterdam Pirates. He also re-joined the Dutch national team. In the 1998 Baseball World Cup, he hit .341/.391/.610 with 10 runs, 11 RBI and no errors in 10 games in center field for the Dutch squad. With the Oranje, he won his second European Championship in 1999, leading the tournament in runs scored (10 in 5 games). He hit .533/.696/.933 with 7 walks, 4 doubles and six RBI in the event. He had one outfield assist and made no errors.

Faneyte was MVP of Hoofdklasse for the second time in 1999. He had finished among among the league leaders in average (.444, third), runs (60, 2nd to Lars Koehorst) and hits (72, 5th). He hit 14 homers, two off of the lead, and drove in 45. He was 4-2 with five saves on the mound. In the 1999 World Port Tournament, he led Cuba to victory, batting a team-high .367 with an OBP around .486 and slugging percentage of .500. He led the tournament in walks (7) and stole two bases. He also pitched one scoreless inning.

Faneyte played for the Netherlands at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He hit .269/.308/.367 for the fifth-place team scoring 4 runs and driving in one while playing flawless centerfield. He also pitched in two games. The first was a one-inning, 3-batter save in the Dutch's 4 - 2 win over Cuba. The second was in the team's 10-inning loss versus South Africa in which Faneyte was the losing pitcher.[6]

In total, Faneyte made in 87 international appearances. He retired after the 2001 Hoofdklasse season. He played in the top league for eleven years (1985-1990 and 1997-2001), and won two MVP Awards (1987 and 1999). Faneyte would later come out of retirement in 2005 to play one last season for the Pirates. Faneyte once again wore #19 which had been retired for him two years prior on opening day. In 2005, season he played in 34 games and batted .203 with 4 doubles and one home run. He only stuck out 6 times in 75 plate appearances and walked 11 times. On the mound, he sported an 0.96 ERA in 28.0 innings pitched, over eight games. He started twice, both complete games and hurled one shutout. He had 10 strikeouts and walked four.[7] At the close of his Dutch career he had played in 417 games and had gotten 515 hits, including 86 home runs. As a pitcher, he had a 51-14 record.

He became the pitching coach for the Amsterdam Pirates in 2006.[8] In October of 2007, Faneyte was hired as head coach for Amsterdam, even though Louis Hofer had just led the team to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. [9]

Faneyte did even better than Hofer, as Amsterdam went to the finals and won the 2008 Holland Series. To do so, they upset DOOR Neptunus in the semifinals; Neptunus included former major leaguer Eugene Kingsale and Mexican League star Sharnol Adriana. In the finals, they beat two-time defending champ Corendon Kinheim. Faneyte became the 6th rookie manager to lead his team to a Holland Series title; another ex-big leaguer, Robert Eenhoorn, had done it most recently (1999). Faneyte was named Coach of the Year in the 2008 Hoofdklasse. On April 30, Faneyte came out of retirement briefly, appearing in his first game in 3 years by inserting himself as the pitcher for the final two innings of a blowout loss; he gave up 2 runs in 2 innings, better than or equal to the club's prior three hurlers.

Faneyte's club did well in 2009 but did not make the finals, and he was let go as manager following that year.


To my left was Willie McGee. To my right was Barry Bonds. And I was stuck in the middle, - Rikkert Faneyte, on playing center field for the 1993 San Francisco Giants in his MLB debut[10]


  1. Benno Niemeijer obituary by Marco Stoovelaar
  2. Jan Smidt obituary by Marco Stoovelaar
  3. Guus Mater (May 14, 2002). "The European Connection". The SABR UK Examiner. SABR UK. Retrieved August 10, 2006.
  4. [1]
  5. Official Report (PDF). XXIV Olympiad Seoul 1988.
  6. IBAF (April 11, 2003). "GAMES OF THE XXVII OLYMPIAD". IBAF. IBAF. Retrieved August 10, 2006.
  7. Harry Wedemeijer (November 16, 2004). "Dutch Major League Baseball Season 2005 Cumulative Statistics". KNBSB. KNBSB. Retrieved August 10, 2006.
  8. Marco Stoovelaar (November 16, 2004). "Baseball Transfers 2004 - Amsterdam Pirates". Grand Slam - Stats & News. Marco Stoovelaar. Retrieved August 10, 2006.
  9. Marco Stoovelaar story on Faneyte being hired as head coach of Amsterdam
  10. Joe Connor (Jan. 17, 2006). "Welcome to The Netherlands". ESPN.com. ESPN. Retrieved August 10, 2006.

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