Friends and associates of EDA Rhinos manager Hsu Sheng-ming, (徐生明) who died on Saturday from a heart attack after an evening jog, remember him as a leader who oversaw the most wins by a manager in Taiwanese baseball history.
Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) president Huang Cheng-tai (黃鎮台) offered condolences to the family of the 54-year-old, praising him for bringing teams to victory a record 715 times over his career.
“Hsu was an exceptional baseball player and manager, and his sudden death is saddening. I have expressed the deepest condolences to his family on behalf of the CPBL,” Huang said early yesterday morning after visiting Hsu’s family at a hospital in Taipei, where the baseball legend had been pronounced dead hours earlier.
Hsu’s death came as a shock to the baseball world and the Greater Kaohsiung-based Rhinos observed a minute’s silence before yesterday’s game against the Brother Elephants in New Taipei City (新北市).
Hsu was known as a strict leader who was good at using his team’s advantages to the full, baseball analyst Tseng Wen-cheng (曾文誠) said.
“During a game, he knew what ingredients he had in hand and could always make them into different dishes,” he said.
Tseng said that one of the most impressive things about Hsu was his insistence that the future of Taiwanese baseball had to be based on locally sourced talent.
Earlier this year, the Rhinos recruited Dominican-American star Manny Ramirez, whose presence on the team helped boost CPBL ticket sales before he left in June.
Hsu repeatedly said that local baseball should not rely on Ramirez alone, calling instead for a return to the basics.
Since the iconic manager’s death, Rhinos players and fans have flocked to the team’s Web site and Facebook page to leave messages of condolence.
Hsu became Taiwan’s youngest professional baseball manager at age 32, when he was placed in charge of the now-disbanded Wei Chuan Dragons.
During his impressive career he also led First Financial Holdings Agan, the Chinatrust Whales and the Sinon Bulls.
In 2004 he led Taiwan’s national baseball team to a fifth-place finish at the Athens Olympics, despite battling kidney disease.
Hsu also played for the national team as a pitcher before beginning his managerial career.
Hsu’s daughter told reporters yesterday that he was always open about his feelings.
“We did not get to spend much time together, so he would often call me to say he missed me and loved me,” she told reporters.
Hsu suffered from gout, high blood pressure and kidney disease and underwent a kidney transplant in 2004.