NEW YORK, June 16, 2010 — MMA legend Bas Rutten finished tied for second for the “Greatest Dutch Sportsman” award in media balloting conducted by New York’s historic Grand Central Oyster Bar.
Baseball’s Bert Blyleven received the most votes, while Rutten and baseball’s Jim Kaat were tied for second.
The promotion was in conjunction with the annual Holland Herring Festival at the iconic Manhattan seafood eatery and a Heineken Salute to Dutch Sportsmen, which was launched last week. Dutch herring from the Netherlands is air-expressed to New York for a two week period at the Oyster Bar. You could say that Blyleven “caught the big fish.”
Johnny “Double No-Hit” Vander Meer, track and field greats Fanny Blankers-Koen and Cornelius Warmerdam, soccer legend Johan Cruyff and basketball sharpshooter Kiki Vandeweghe finished in a five-way tie for fourth.
Pitcher Curt Schilling, former Indiana Pacer center Rik Smits, U.S. Open tennis champion Tom Okker, veteran tennis standout Richard Krajicek, the Dutch kickboxer Semmy Schilt, Olympic gold medalist Anton Geesink, and three time Stanley Cup champion Joe Nieuwendyk also received votes. In two somewhat odd ballots, former Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, because he was a “Flying Dutchman” as a collegiate player at Hofstra University, and the Yonkers Raceway harness driver Brett Holland, because of his last name, both received single votes.