Last week you could read here that Loek Loevendie, a.k.a. Mr. Pirates or Uncle Loek was nominated for the medal of the Amsterdam Sports Council.
Yesterday was the big day at the Amsterdam city theatre. Next to Mr. Loevendi, there were four other nominees; one of them fellow Amsterdam Pirates member Esther van Ede.
The sports council announced that Mr. Loevendie was the winner because of his very long dedication since 1959.
Mr. Loevendie has been training the youth players of Amsterdam Pirates since he joined the club. Partly thanks to him many youth players made it to the Hoofdklasse (Dutch Major League), players like Peter van Erk, Ronald Stoovelaar, Peter Boon, Nick Urbanus, Vince Rooi and Rikkert Faneyte. Several players tried their luck in the USA, where they played in the minor leagues but two players even made it to the Major League: Rikkert Faneyte, who played several years for the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers and Didi Gregorius.
As inventor of the game peanut ball (similar to tee ball), Loek Loevendie built the foundation of what has become bee ball, a kind of baseball for the toddlers.
After receiving the medal Mr. Loevendie expressed his gratitude: “I have had a beautiful time with Amsterdam Pirates as a trainer. Still I give training to the bee ball players of the club. This gives me a lot of joy. Even though I retired as a trainer in 2013, it is hard to leave the sport behind.”