Curaçao’s Major League Baseball pioneer was recently profiled by San Francisco Chronicle Sports Columnist Bruce Jenkins: ‘Giants coach Hensley Meulens a true man of the world’.
Jenkins starts his profile by framing Meulens’ character: there’s something about Meulens that speaks to wisdom, in all phases of life, and it shows in his countenance. So much of coaching is about presence – the ability to hold players’ attention over a long period of time – and Meulens radiates that quality. Then Jenkins goes on to describe Meulens as a man of many languages (English, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Papiamentu) and diverse ethnicity (Dominican Republic, Curaçao).
At the age of 20, labeled the Yankees‘ next great slugger and the team’s top prospect … Turned out to be a bust (“I was a bad breaking-ball hitter”), batting .221 with 12 homers over 159 games in five seasons (1989-93) … Played three years in Japan, learning the language and meticulously studying the culture … Gave himself two more years to make the big leagues, but played mostly in the minors for the Montreal, Arizona and White Sox organizations … Headed to the Mexican League and enjoyed two stints there, with a season in Korea (2000) in between.
Through it all, Meulens didn’t quite realize his dream. But he emerged a complete man, able to speak and relate to just about anyone.
Read the rest of Jenkins’ brilliant profile of Meulens here.