Dutch baseball player Loek van Mil dies at age 34

Loek van Mil while playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Loek van Mil while playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden EaglesPhoto: Eargus/Wikimedia Commons

Baseball player Loek van Mil died at the age of 34 from the consequences of a fatal accident, baseball and softball association KNBSB said on Monday. At the request of Van Mil's family, the union will not provide any further details about the precise circumstances of the right-handed relief pitcher's death, technical director Tjerk Smeets said to RTL Nieuws.

Curacao Neptunus, the Rotterdam club where Van Mil played, called his death a big loss. "We are quite shocked", a spokesperson said to RTL. He described Van Mil as a "valued teammate" who made a big impression, both because of his height at 2.16 meters and because of his enormous experience. "He went to America at a young age and always held his own. He played in the US at the second highest level and in Japan at the highest level." According to the spokesperson, Van Mil made Curacao Neptunus "really better". 

Van Mil had a long successful career. He played for the Dutch team 48 times. In the United States he played minor league baseball for teams affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels, and Minnesota Twins. Van Mil also played four seasons in AAA baseball in the U.S., one year in Japan, and two in Australia. In a career of 338 professional baseball games he had a 3.12 ERA, striking out 429 batters over 516.1 innings pitched. 

In December Van Mil was seriously injured while hiking near Canberra in Australia. He fell on the rocks and suffered a brain hemorrhage. He was unconscious in the woods for 24 hours before another hiker found him. This accident happened while his team, the Brisbane Bandits, was visiting Canberra Cavalry.