Curaçao born Hensley Meulens in International League Hall of Fame
WILLEMSTAD - Baseball fans know Hensley Meulens as the San Francisco Giants batting coach who has worked with the likes of Buster Posey, Joe Panik and Hunter Pence during the team’s run of three World Series victories in this decade.
But when he was an all-star left fielder and third baseman for the Clippers in 1990 and ’92, and Ottawa in '97, Meulens was known as “Bam-Bam’’ and a handful for International League pitchers.
The IL inducted the Curaçao born Meulens into its hall of fame before Indianapolis defeated Columbus 7-1 before 11,373 on Monday night at Huntington Park.
Meulens was the league’s most valuable player in 1990 when he hit 26 home runs and drove in 96 runs. In 1992, he hit 26 home runs and drove in 100 runs for a Governors’ Cup championship team, but lost out on another MVP to teammate J.T. Snow.
“If you see some of the names in this hall of fame you say, ‘Wow, I’m in there with all of those guys,’ " Meulens said. “It means everything to me to have my family here to see this. I’ve been in baseball 31 years, and this is an individual achievement but one that is right up there with winning the World Series."
Meulens ranks with Marshall Brant, Tucker Ashford, Steve Balboni, Otis Nixon and Derek Jeter as all-time Clipper fan favorites. He played the game with a smile.
“I never wanted to make it stressful," he said. “Baseball is hard to be consistent on a daily basis, and I wanted to make it fun."
The nickname Bam-Bam came from his softball days as a 14-year-old growing up in Curaçao. The country has knighted him.
Meulens’ game never translated at the major-league level. He batted .220 in 182 games in seven seasons with three teams.
“I would have loved to have played more in the big leagues, but I’ve gotten the privilege to coach in the big leagues," he said. “I’m so fortunate. (General manager) Brian Sabean brought me to the Giants and things have been wonderful."