Wanna hear something crazy? When I was doing some research today for a new baseball book that I’m writing, I came to read about an Angel third baseman named Robert Eenhoorn from the 1996 and 1997 seasons who is a knight. A knight! As in Sir Paul McCartney or Sir Winston Churchill.
Sir Robert Eenhoorn was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 1968 and was playing in the highest Dutch baseball league when he was a high schooler. He moved to America to play baseball in college, and he did so well that he was chosen by the New York Yankees as the 45th pick of the 1990 draft. By 1992, Baseball America had rated him as the Yankees’ #6 prospect. He got a few cups of coffee with the Yankees in the mid-nineties, and then when he was put on waivers in 1996, he was claimed by the Angels.
The Angels gave Eenhoorn a couple cups of coffee as well, and although he hit .308 with 12 home runs in 120 games for the Angel Triple-A club in 1997, the Angels let him go after that season. He played one more year of Triple-A ball in the New York Mets’ system, and then he left for Holland.
He played for Neptunus in Holland, who won their league championship all three years Eenhoorn played for them, from 1999 through 2001, taking the league’s MVP honors in 2000. He also played for the Dutch national team during this time, winning a gold medal in the 1999 European Baseball Championships and playing in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Eenhoorn then became the manager of the Dutch national team. Under his leadership, Holland won another gold medal at the 2001 European Baseball Championships, placed sixth in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and placed fourth in the 2005 and 2007 World Baseball Cups.
He then became the general manager of the Dutch national team when it achieved its greatest glory — it won the 2011 World Baseball Cup. It defeated Chinese Taipei, Japan, Puerto Rico, South Korea, the United States, Venezuela, and Cuba twice along the way. It demolished Venezuela 12-2, and beat the United States in a game that featured outfielder AJ Pollack, catcher Travis D’Arnaud, and starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker.
For his many achievements, the greatest of which was winning Holland international acclaim by winning the 2011 World Baseball Cup, Queen Beatrix of Holland bestowed knighthood upon Robert Eenhoorn, a man who was once an Angel in periwinkle blue.