RKC Mesch

A 3D version of the RKC Mesch logo.

Rooms-Katholieke Combinatie Mesch, (Roman Catholic Combination Mesch) commonly known as RKC Mesch, is a professional baseball club located in Mesch, Houtmansland. They are the first club to be founded by a church that turned professional.

RKC Mesch is a merger between three churches in the city: St Francis Xavier, De Krijtberg and Church of Our Lady that held athletic meetings every Sunday after services for all parishioners. In 1897 the churches all formed a baseball team and played friendly games against one another before the three churches banded together under the umbrella of RKC Mesch in 1898 to play friendly games against other local clubs in the area. The merger proved controversial, with Protestant clubs refusing to play the Catholic club prompting RKC Mesch to travel throughout the country in order to play other Catholic clubs. The results were usually a blow-out as most Catholic-based teams were small village clubs playing a friendly game after services.

When the Topklasse Divise was announced, RKC Mesch pushed to join the competition citing that religion should not forbid the team from playing. The three founding member teams of Eikenheuvel HC, KBO Armweide and SHC Koedijk voted 2-1 in favour of allowing religious teams to play professionally and RKC Mesch was formally invited, becoming the 6th and final team of the league.

Undeterred by the club turning professional, RKC Mesch maintained it’s tight relationship with the Catholic church until the early 1970s when oil tycoon – and lifelong fan – Anjo Bakker bought the club from the church after witnessing how poor the ballpark and facilities had become with little to no maintenance since he visited as a small boy with his father.

Historischwegveld‘s playing field has not changed since the opening day of the Topklasse Divisie in 1902 – where RKC Mesch have played every home game. The huge field, situated right next to Church of Our Lady in the northern residential area of Mesch, sees a reduced amount of home runs and a lower batting average than seen elsewhere in the league; however doubles and triples are increased, making quick base-runners enjoy the extra breathing room in the outfield.

Despite being based in the comparatively small city of Mesch, the team has a bit of a cult following, with most practicing Catholic’s considering the ‘Zwervers’ (Wanderers) their second team.

Leave a Reply