Han Urban (1927-2021): pioneer of baseball

Han Urban (1927-2021): pioneer of baseball

Han Urban has reached the first base.ANP . image

Hahn Urban was born in Rotterdam in 1927, but moved to Amsterdam when he was seven years old. When Urbanus was eleven years old, he accompanied his older brother to a training session for baseball club OVVO in East Amsterdam. He put on a baseball glove and threw a few balls. A love for baseball was born.

Urbanus turned out to be an excellent jug. He debuted at the highest level at the age of nineteen and became a five-time national champion in a row between 1949 and 1953. OVVO was the first club in the Dutch baseball league to succeed.

New York

Urbanus’ achievements did not go unnoticed. In 1952, he was the first European baseball player to be invited to a professional training camp for the New York Giants in America. “I just wonder if I’ll be able to compete at the level,” Urbanus said at the time. Albarol.

This fear turned out to be unfounded. Urbanos immediately got wind of the front after throwing the first ball. According to the American coaches, his technique was not very good.

Han Urban in the garb of giants.  private picture
Han Urban in the garb of giants.private picture

Urbanus was not put off by cash. Work started with comments about throwing it away. At first he completely lost control of his throws, but after weeks of training Urbanos got the balls back to where he wanted them.

It was believed that other shooters in Holland should do the same. So Urbanus kept his eyes peeled during training camp. He wrote everything he saw and heard in his diary. In addition, when he returned to the Netherlands, he took with him an educational film and a wagon laden with pictures.

car with driver

When he returned to the Netherlands, Urbanus was invited by baseball clubs from all over the country to share his knowledge. He was happy to do so, because he was treated like a star and even got a chauffeured car.

A year later, he was allowed to return to the training camp in America and also received an offer to become a professional. But Urbanus decided to return to Amsterdam. He was just married.

Urbanus with the OVVO team.  private picture
Urbanus with the OVVO team.private picture

His second visit to America yielded something beautiful. Dressed as a giant, he toured New York by train with then-famous movie star Jane Wire to raise money for the victims of the flood disaster in Zealand. He raised $10,000. There was only one minus during the train journey. Wilhelmus was played at every station. “It finally pissed me off,” Urbanus says.


Urbanus’ stay in Holland turned out to be good news for the Dutch team. The orange team made its debut in 1956 at the European Championship and immediately became the European champion. The subsequent six European titles were also for Orange. Urbanus played for OVVO for 24 years and was part of the Dutch team for 12 years. He has been named best bowler in the league five times, most expensive hitter three times and best hitter once. In 1984, Urbanus was inducted into the Dutch Baseball League’s Hall of Fame.

Han Urban with his son Charles (left) and grandson Nick.  private picture
Han Urban with his son Charles (left) and grandson Nick.private picture

Baseball genes run in the Urbanus family. His son Charles and grandson Nick also became European baseball champions. Hahn Urbanus thinks it has been great that three generations of his family have achieved this, especially because no other sporting family in the Netherlands has succeeded in any sport.

“I am proud that the family was able to continue the work they already started,” he said in an interview with NOS several years ago. “I didn’t come to America for nothing.”

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