Hensley Meulens

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Hensley Meulens
Hensley Meulens 2011.jpg
Meulens in 2011
San Francisco Giants – No. 31
Outfielder/Hitting coach
Born: (1967-06-23) June 23, 1967 (age 47)
Willemstad, Curaçao
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 23, 1989 for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
May 14, 1998 for the Arizona Diamondbacks
Career statistics
Batting average .220
Home runs 15
Runs batted in 53
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Hensley Filemon Acasio ("Bam Bam") Meulens (born June 23, 1967) is a retired Dutch Caribbean professional baseball player and current hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants. A native of Curaçao, he played from 1989 to 2000 in Major League Baseball, Nippon Professional Baseball, and the Korea Baseball Organization. He was the first Curaçaolean to play in both Major League Baseball and the Dominican Professional Baseball League[1] He speaks five languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, Papiamento and Japanese.[2]

Hitting home runs left-handed while playing softball as a teenager earned Meulens the nickname "Bam Bam" when his friends compared his power to the Flintstones cartoon character.[3]

Over the course of his career, Meulens would become the first to play for all four of the major Caribbean winter leagues.[4]

Early career (1985–1993)[edit]

Hensley Meulens was signed by the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 1985. After struggling in his first professional season in 1986 with the Gulf Coast Yankees, Meulens made a splash in 1987 with Single-A Prince William, hitting .300 with 28 HR and 103 RBI, also being named to the Carolina League All-Star team. His hitting cooled somewhat in 1988 & 1989 as he split time between the Double-A Albany-Colonie Yankees of the Eastern League and the Triple-A Columbus Clippers of the International League.

His bat rebounded in 1990 for Columbus as he helped lead the team to the 1990 International League championships (where they ultimately lost to Rochester), hitting .285 with 26 HR and 96 RBI, and was named the 1990 International League MVP. Meulens' impressive 1990 season earned him a spot on the Yankees roster in 1991,[5] but he was back in Columbus in 1992 to help lead the Clippers to the Governors' Cup Championship.

1993 was a frustrating year for Meulens, at the end of which the Yankees sold his contract to the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Career as a New York Yankee (1989–1993)[edit]

He made his Major League debut with the New York Yankees August 23, 1989. While having great success hitting minor league pitching, Meulens never attained a permanent spot on the New York lineup, despite spending the entire 1991 season on the Yankees roster. Averaging a strike-out every three at bats, Meulens platooned in left field with the more consistent hitting Mel Hall. He saw limited action with the Yankees in late-season call-ups in 1992 and 1993.

Japan (1994–1996)[edit]

In November 1993, the Yankees sold Meulens' contract to the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball,[6] where he spent the 1994 season, hitting 23 home runs and driving in 69 runs while accumulating 135 strikeouts. The following season, Meulens signed with the Yakult Swallows, helping lead the Swallows to the 1995 Japan Series Championship.

Back to America (1997–2002)[edit]

He returned to North America in 1997, and after an unsuccessful tryout with the Atlanta Braves,[7][8] he reached the Majors again briefly playing with the Montreal Expos (while having a good season for the Expos' AAA affiliate Ottawa Lynx) and Arizona Diamondbacks. Unable to secure a contract with a major league team in 1999, Meulens signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League.[9] He made one last stop in Asia, playing 14 games with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization and batting only .196, before heading his professional playing career to the Mexican League with the Saraperos de Saltillo in 2001 and finally retiring, in 2002, after a mid-season injury while playing with the Pericos de Puebla.

International competition[edit]

Meulens represented the Netherlands at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. His 4th-inning double gave the Cuban team their first Olympic loss in 21 games.[10] Ultimately, the Netherlands took fifth place in the final standings. He returned to the team as a coach for the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Meulens was named to serve as manager for the team during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.[11]

Meulens also played for the Dutch team in the 2001 Baseball World Cup in Taichung, Taiwan and 2002 Intercontinental Cup in Havana, Cuba.

Coaching career[edit]

Meulens began his coaching career with the Bluefield Orioles for the 2003 and 2004 seasons. From 2005-2008, he was the hitting coach of the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates,[12][13] also coaching in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Saguaros in 2005 and the Hawaii Winter Baseball league for the Honolulu Sharks in the 2006 off-season. In 2009, Meulens served as hitting coach for the Fresno Grizzlies, the AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants of the Pacific Coast League.[14] Meulens reached the Major League ranks as batting coach in 2010, serving as hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants following the firing of previous hitting coach Carney Lansford.[15] He helped the Giants win a World Series in two of his first 3 years.

Hensley Meulens also runs the Dutch Antilles Baseball Academy in Curaçao.[16] He is reportedly interested in starting a baseball league in Curaçao in association with Major League Baseball's RBI Program.

Personal life[edit]

Meulens has two daughters; Michelle MarIise Aimee Meulens-Ebecilio (1989), and Danielle Marie Antonia Meulens-Ebecilio (1992). In 2010, Meulens welcomed a third child named Elijah Gabriel Ludwig.

Knighthood[edit]

On April 27, 2012, Meulens was awarded with the Order of Orange-Nassau by Queen Beatrix, which is a chivalry order of the Netherlands that is the equivalent of knighthood. He is one of four baseball players awarded the title, along with Calvin Maduro, Eugene Kingsale, and Sidney Ponson.

Brandon Belt, one of the players that Meulens coaches on the Giants, says he prefers to call the newly knighted coach 'Sir Bam Bam.'[17]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Licey gana importante partido al Escogido y sale del sotano". El Día (November 10, 2012). 
  2. ^ Segal, Matt. "Catching up w/ Hitting Coach Hensley Meulens". IndyIndians.com (March 12, 2008). Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  3. ^ ""BAM-BAM" Meulens is Grizzlies Hitting Coach". CBS47.tv (April 13, 2009). Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  4. ^ "ENTREVISTA HENSLEY MEULENS: Mi vida es la pelota". eluniversal.com (December 12, 2010). Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  5. ^ Martinez, Michael (1991-02-28). "Hard-Working Meulens Gets a Shot". New York Times (February 28, 1991). Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  6. ^ "Meulens to Play in Japan". New York Times (November 27, 1993). 1993-11-27. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  7. ^ Harper, John (1997-02-26). "BAM-BAM'S BRAVE WORLD EX-YANK PHENOM IS BACK". New York Daily News (February 26, 1997). Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  8. ^ Zack, Bill. "Braves Notebook". Augusta Chronicle (March 21, 1997). Archived from the original on 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  9. ^ "NEWARK BEARS SIGN "BAM BAM"". NewarkBears.com (April 9, 1999). Archived from the original on 1999-10-02. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  10. ^ "Meulens’ Double Leads Netherlands to Upset of Cuba". Los Angeles Times (September 20, 2000). 2000-09-20. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  11. ^ "Meulens will manage in WBC". San Francisco Chronicle (October 10, 2012). 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  12. ^ "Indianapolis Indians Roster - 2008 Field Staff". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  13. ^ Bosma, Brian. "Jewett and Meulens will not return in 2009". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  14. ^ "Rohn Returns To Lead Grizzlies 2009 Field Staff". OurSportsCentral.com. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  15. ^ "Giants hire Meulens as hitting coach". Yahoo.com. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  16. ^ "Dutch Antilles Baseball Academy Curaçao". Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  17. ^ Baggarly, Andrew (27 April 2012). CSN Bay Area http://www.csnbayarea.com/baseball-san-francisco-giants/giants-talk/Just-call-him-Sir-Bam-Bam-from-now-on?blockID=698099&feedID=10850&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 29 April 2012. 

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