Wed, Oct 08, 2003 - Page 20 News List

2003 Taiwan Series may be best in league history


Tsai Kuen-shiang's (蔡昆祥) lazy fly to center found its way into the glove of Agan centerfielder Huang Lung-yi (黃龍義) to give the home team a 5-3 victory and conclude regular season play in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL).

In one of the most eventful years in the CPBL's 14-year history, the year began with the merger of two rival leagues.

Then came the disastrous 3-10-1 start for the defending champions that had Brother Elephants fans scratching their heads.

Sinon Bulls slugger Chang Tai-shan (張泰山) took center stage in May after chalking up his 100th career home run, becoming the youngest player in league history to accomplish such a feat.

Chang's record-setting season continued as he claimed the double-century mark (100 home runs and 100 stolen bases), the fastest to reach the 500 RBI plateau, the most homers in a single season, and the 20-20 mark (20 homers and 20 stolen bases in the same season).

Following their miserable start, the Elephants regained their composure, finishing the first half of the season in a second-place tie in the standings with the Chinatrust Whales.

They then won the second-half title in one of the league's most dramatic turnarounds.

Four-time defending base-stealing champion Huang Kang-lin (黃甘霖) of the President Lions overcame a 10-base deficit late in the season to beat out Whales outfielder Chi Jung-lin (紀俊麟) by one stolen base for his fifth consecutive title.

But the season had its share of misfortunes as an automobile carrying four players in April ran into a tree that led to one player being hospitalized for over a month.

And off-field trouble struck in August when the Elephants' team bus got into a highway race with a truck, ending with four hot-tempered players breaking the leg of a truck driver.

The postseason will begin this weekend in Kaohsiung, where the Elephants will host the Bulls in Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven 2003 Taiwan Series.

It will be the highest rated championship series matchup ever, since no two teams have ever had a closer regular-season record.

Adding to the excitement, this year's batting champ Peng Cheng-ming (彭政閔) of the Elephants will face home-run king Chang Tai-shan of the Bulls.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top