Sidebar on Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens — in the 2017 New York Yankees Official Yearbook

March 13, 2017 — For a sidebar in my feature story on Didi Gregorius (see blog entry below), I interviewed Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens, while I was in Curaçao. When Meulens, who is currently on the San Francisco Giants coaching staff, broke into the majors with the Yankees in 1989, he became the first player from Curaçao to make it to the big leagues.

Since Meulens’ debut, 13 other players born in Curaçao have played in the majors with another eight in the minors as of April 2016.

“I’m proud to be the first from here to make it,” Meulens, who turns 50 in June, said from Curaçao’s main baseball field during a workout with several players in January. “That’s something that you take with you forever.”

Meulens’ journey from the fields of Curaçao to the Bronx is an interesting one.

“I didn’t start playing baseball until I was 9 years old,” the former third baseman-turned-outfielder said. “I was really bad when I started playing, and I was a lot better in soccer. But I worked hard at baseball because there wasn’t much else to do when we weren’t playing soccer. When I started to get good at baseball, my love for the game grew.”

To read the rest of Meulens’ story, including how he caught the eye of former Yankees scout Dick Groch (a name familiar to Yankees fans because he scouted and signed Derek Jeter), pick up a copy of the 2017 New York Yankees Official Yearbook.

The Yearbook will be on sale at Yankee Stadium and on newsstands throughout New York City and the surrounding areas, beginning on April 10.

You can also purchase the Yearbook by visiting www.yankees.com/publications or by calling (800) GO-YANKS. Additionally, our long-form content can be found online at www.yankees.com/magazine.

— Alfred Santasiere III