Fri, Jul 25, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Tseng Chih-cheng goes around the bases at 44


Unlike wine, which improves with age, professional athletes are seldom maintain the level of competitiveness that allows them to extend their playing career into their 40s.

Unlike Nolen Ryan and Cal Ripken Jr., most players usually retire by the time they reach the age of 40.

That seemed to be the case for President Lions catcher Tseng Chih-cheng (曾智偵) four years ago when he traded in his bat and glove at the age of 40 for a seat in the Lions dugout to manage the team.

Tseng had been a Lions icon behind home plate for a decade, finishing with a .294 batting average and 44 homers.

Now the 44-year-old native of Chiayi has come out of retirement for more heroics on a baseball field.

"Senior management [of the Lions] and I had a long talk about my decision and I assured them that I would not embarrass them or myself."

"Pressure? You bet there is pressure for me to do well," he said about his decision.

In one of the season's most dramatic moments, Tseng backed up his promise as he took Osvaldo Martinez of the Sinon Bulls deep to center last Saturday to become the oldest Taiwanese player ever to hit a home run in a professional basebal game. In front of a Taichung crowd of over 4,000, most of whom cheering for the home Bulls, Tseng convinced the world that he was a long way from being finished as a player.

The joyful tears and sheer determination found on his face as he rounded the bases proved his love for the game and why this great game of baseball will live on.

Round Up

The Chinatrust Whales shook off their 9-1 loss to the Makoto Gida last Sunday by claiming the first two games of the four-game series against the First Securities Agan in Kaohsiung earlier this week.

Tuesday night's series opener did not look good for the Whales early on as starter Hsieh Cheng-hsun (謝承勳) yielded three first-inning runs on four hits.

The 3-0 Agan lead would last only momentarily because the Whale bats came alive in the next four innings to score eight unanswered runs against Agan starter Liang Rue-hao (梁如豪) for a commanding 8-3 lead after five innings of play.

The Agan would tack on one more run on cleanup man Pan Chung-wei's (潘忠韋) blooper single to short in the seventh to make it 8-4, but that was as close as his team would come.

Offensively for the Whales, the night belonged to catcher Shih Chin-hso (石金受) as he went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, earning him the game-MVP honor.

The Whales picked up where they left off on game two of the series Wednesday night as they pounded Agan starter Claudio Galva for five runs on seven hits in the 5-4 Whale triumph.

Still winless since his arrival last month, Galva issued four walks and a wild pitch that proved to be the difference in the game.

Whale starter Nakayama Hiroaki pocketed his tenth win of the season on seven solid innings of work.

The Japanese veteran allowed three runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits before handing the 5-3 lead to his bullpen. Closer Maximo Rosa gave up a two-out single in the ninth to make it 5-4 before collecting his fourth save of the season on a game-ending strikeout with runners at the corners.

The tough Agan loss marked their sixth in a row.

Upcoming Games

The highly anticipated three-game series between the Brother Elephants and the Sinon Bulls will take place in Taichung on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, as the top two teams in the league face off for the first time in the second half of the season.

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