A 3D version of the HHV logo.

HHV, known officially as Herveld Honkbal Vereniging is a professional baseball team based in Herveld, Houtmansland. The club was officially founded on December 10th 1900 as a merger between Herveld Vereniging and Hercules.

Herveld Vereniging and Hercules were both founded in 1898 with the intention of playing in a four-team round-robin within the city of Herveld. Membership in the Herveld Vereniging was explicitly limited to former and current soldiers in the Houtmansland Army, whilst Hercules was for family and friends of the Herveld Vereniging members. With the round-robin tournament never starting, both teams played each other in exhibition games throughout the city and neighbouring towns and villages for two years, with records suggesting that Hercules won 18 of the 35 games played against each other during that time.

The games drew big crowds due to the athletic ability on display with an excerpt from a newspaper clipping suggesting the Herveld Vereniging were a favourite with women:

Indeed, the women were all a fluster when the Baseman on Third athletically handled the ball to the man protecting Second for the third out of the inning before they both turned to the crowd and waved to some young ladies in the front. The ladies needed to be removed from the grounds by members of the public to regain their composure.

– Herveld Dagelijks, 4th June 1899

The large crowds and exciting baseball on offer saw the two clubs offered the chance to play professionally in the Houtmansland Topklasse Divisie with a one-game ‘play-off’ to decide who would become professional and join the competition. Neither side were prepared to do so, and with the majority of the Herveld Vereniging line-up consisting of active soldiers, the decision was made to merge the two clubs under a new name: Herveld Honkbal Vereniging.

HHV, now a professional club, called on supporters to help fund the purchase of a field to become the home ground or risk losing their spot in the inaugural Topklasse Divisie season. In February of 1902, just a couple of months from the start of the season and two weeks from the deadline of needing a ground, a boat owner by the name Nick de Smet gifted the team a block of land on the outskirts of the city adjacent to Oudekerkstraat on the proviso he would never have to purchase tickets for games ever again. The ground – one of the strangest in the Southern Union – consists of a 17-feet high wall in an extremely shallow right field with centre field and left field not much deeper, making home runs a regular occurrence, but doubles and triples nearly half as common as the league average.

Leave a Reply