The Hero of the Netherlands

So, Gene Kingsale had an interesting night.

Only a half inning removed from a crucial misplay in the field, Kingsale stepped to the plate with the Netherlands trailing by a run and the tying run on third. Naturally, as in all tales of redemption, Kingsale ended up tying the game with a liner to right. To make things even better for the journeyman, Kingsale advanced to third following an error on Carlos Marmol, and eventually scored the winning run on an error by Willy Aybar.

On a Netherlands team that features mostly minor leaguers who may never see the lights of a major league stadium again after their WBC experience, there are a few former major leaguers.

Enter Randall Simon, Sidney Ponson, and Kingsale.

Everyone knows about Simon’s hot dog antics or Ponson’s obsession with beer brats. Can that same thing be said about Kingsale? The answer to that is almost certainly no despite Kingsale boasting a somewhat interesting tale.

In 1996, as a 19-year-old, Kingsale broke into the majors with Baltimore as a center fielder. A few opportunity deprived and offensively challenged seasons later, Kingsale would be claimed off waivers by the Mariners where he would spend small parts of two seasons. Kingsale joined the Padres in 2003 until his release a few months later. Kingsale would eventually find some playing time with Detroit in 2003, but spent 2004 and 2005 in the minors.

The story is interesting when you consider how many 19-year-olds find the majors and encounter close to zero success at the major league level. Dave covered the 19-year-olds with at least 100 at-bats in late January and found that essentially every player who pulled the feat was successful in some capacity. Kingsale didn’t receive 100 at-bats prior to his 20th birthday, in fact, he received zero. Even so, only one positive season of wRAA?

I guess that makes last night all the sweeter for Gene Kingsale.

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6 Responses to “The Hero of the Netherlands”

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  1. elgringo79 says:

    Good. Now the Major Leaguers on the DR team can go safely back to Spring Training.

    Hopefully the US and Venezuela are next.

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    • Joe R says:

      A maximum of 10 baseball games will REALLY have an effect on well conditioned positional players?

      It’s not like a player can’t be injured in a spring training game.

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  2. Bill says:

    Kingsale being in the majors had more to do with how atrocious Baltimore’s farm system was in ’96 than anything else. Nobody in the Orioles Minor league system in ’96 ever became a successful player.

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    • Walter Jones says:

      True — the O’s’ system was terrible back then. But Ponson, David Dellucci and Josh Towers — all 1996 Baltimore farmhands — put together a few successful seasons.

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  3. Brian Recca says:

    I just have to say that game was absolutely incredible. I know a lot of people hate the WBC but that was awesome. When you think about it the Netherlands beating the Dominican Republic twice has to be one of the biggest upsets in baseball in recent memory.

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  4. Juan says:

    I was very intrigued by the way the Netherlands were able to win two games against the Dominican Republic. How much do you guys think the results stem from being very well prepared to play the Classic-I think that the Netherlands team was vastly bettter prepared for the Classic than the team from DR-or were the results just plain the probabilities involved in everything we do? The manager of the Dominican Team, Felipe Alou, was very upset because the team was without a starting 1B and 3B. And he was criticised by some for stating these facts before the Classic, and after the dismal results came in for Team DR. Should we consider his points valid?

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