July 10, 2017
By: Steve Degler
The tiny Caribbean island of Aruba has produced five Major League Baseball Players. Eugene Kingsale, Sidney Ponson, former Phillie Calvin Maduro and Radhames Dykhoff all were originally signed by the Baltimore Orioles. Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts was an American League All-Star last season and is a finalist for the final AL All-Star spot this year.
Reading outfielder Jiandido Tromp is hoping to become the sixth big leaguer from the Dutch island, which is located just off the coast of Venezuela. He has been named a 2017 Eastern League All-Star. Tromp was signed by the Phillies as an international free agent in 2011.
Tromp told me he believes he is the only person named Jiandido on Aruba. The moniker is a combination of his parents’ first names. His mother’s name starts with a “J” and his dad’s name is Candido. Tromp speaks four languages: Dutch (not the Pennsylvania kind either), English, Spanish and Papiamento, which is creole based and is the predominant language used on Aruba.
Jiandido’s younger brother Chad is a catcher in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system. Their grandfather got them into baseball. Soccer is the sport of choice for many Arubans. Tromp did have the chance to play in the United States before the Phillies signed him. He attended some showcase events and also played in the Senior League World Series.
Tromp has a very engaging personality. He said he is in contact with Bogaerts and other players from Aruba on a regular basis through a group chat. Jiandido also makes some extra money on the side by making his fellow Fightin Phils look good. He is the clubhouse barber. Right now, the versatile Tromp is also cutting a path to the major leagues.
(Photo Credit: Austin Sullivan/ Reading Fightin Phils)