Global Game: Dutch MLB, KBO, NPB pitcher Rick van den Hurk retires

Global Game: Dutch MLB, KBO, NPB pitcher Rick van den Hurk retires
The 36-year-old right-handed pitcher contributed to two Korean and five Japan Series titles and represented his country in the World Baseball Classic.

Dutch international star pitcher Rick van den Hurk, 36, has announced his retirement from the game that has sent him around the globe.

Van den Hurk, who represented the Netherlands in the 2009 and 2017 World Baseball Classics, originally signed with the Florida Marlins of Major League Baseball (MLB) as an international free agent as a 17-year-old in 2002.

His primary position was catcher, but he switched to the mound during his minor league years. The right-hander appeared in 50 MLB games (35 as a starter) over six seasons (2007-20) for the Florida Marlins, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Van den Hurk moved to the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) league in 2013 and helped them win back-to-back Korean Series championships.

He accepted an offer from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in 2015. He starred for them through the 2020 season, contributing to five Japan Series titles in six years. Between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he recorded 14 consecutive wins, breaking an NPB record.

Van den Hurk spent the 2021 season with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Cover phot is courtesy of MLB/Getty Images.